I will sometimes hear Christians say a woman cannot have leadership in the church or teach men in the church because the Apostle Paul said, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet” (I Timothy 2:12).These Christians fail to understand that Paul’s instruction to Timothy…
Compelled to Come
“I need no covenant to guarantee that God will finish the work He’s begun in me.” Wade Burleson
“The church of Jesus Christ in the 21st century is losing its power to transform lives because of an infatuation with spiritual and moral authority that pastors take over people,” according to Wade Burleson
5 Things Women Who Love Jesus and Believe the Bible Should Know about Their Personal Identity by (pastor) Wade Burleson © (reblogged with permission)
I have the privilege of knowing many Christian women who love Jesus, believe the Bible, respect their husbands, and have a strong distaste for any beliefs or behaviors that contradict the Scriptures. I have empathy for the struggle these Christ-honoring women have with those who advocate “gender equality.” They have long heard the significant men in their lives, including their pastors from the pulpit, declare the Scriptures teach that though women are equal in worth to men, they are not equal to men in authority. Men, it is declared, are designed by God to be “over” women in Christ’s church, are the God-ordained authority in Christian families, and are the ones to whom Christian women are to “submit as unto the Lord.”
If you are one of those women who struggle with the notion of gender equality because you believe it contradicts the Scriptures you love and the Lord you serve, then I would encourage you to read this short primer from a man who loves the Scriptures as much as you (and believes them to be the inspired and infallible Word of God), desires to honor Christ in his family and his church, and has as strong of a distaste for beliefs or behaviors that contradict Scripture as you. In other words, I am a conservative, Bible-believing, Christ-honoring, evangelical – just like you. There are 5 important things I want to remind your identity as a Christian woman.
1. The only spiritual authority in your life is Jesus Christ, for you are called a “priest unto God.”
Christian men who teach that Christian women are “under the spiritual authority” of another man – be it their husband, or their pastor, or their father – have substituted the authority of a man for the authority of Christ. When the Bible calls a Christian woman a “priest unto God” (Revelation 1:6; I Peter 2:5), it means that nobody comes between you as a woman who follows Jesus and Jesus’ authority in your life. There will always be gifted men and women who come alongside you to encourage you, to give you wisdom, and to help you in life – but nobody else has authority over you. The world lives by the concepts of authority and power, granting positions of power and authority to people so that they can rule over and control others. Jesus said to His followers, “This is not the way it shall be among you. Whoever wishes to be great among you must become your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Notice, Jesus did not say the great ones in His church are His servants; Jesus said the great ones in His church are your servants. Meaning, any man who demands your submission and uses power or authority to dominate and rule over you is contradicting the teachings of Christ, and is a man that should be resisted for his own good.
2. You are no more released from the obligation to love your husband than your husband is released from the obligation of submitting to and serving you.
When the Apostle Paul gives instructions for how a Christian man and woman are to relate to one another in the family and the home (see Ephesians 5:21-33), he says that husbands and wives are to love each other as Christ loves the church and to serve each other as Christ serves the church. For some reason, evangelical conservative men who love the Scriptures unintentionally skip or ignore Ephesians 5:21, where Paul says we all – men and women – are to submit to one another by serving one another. It’s almost as if conservative, Bible-believing Christian men and women think that the role in marriage is for the husband to love, and the wife to submit. No, not at all. The role in a Christian marriage is for both the husband and wife to love each other and to submit to each other. In a shame-filled, curse-filled home, the husband and wife will attempt to manipulate and control the other person, always fighting to get ahead and above the other. But in a grace-filled home where Christ is Lord, the man and the woman are always seeking to serve the other, fighting (if you will) to come under and support the other person. (See this article for a more detailed explanation of a curse-filled home). By the way, for the man who says, “But if I serve my wife, then I’m not reflecting Christ’s power and authority over the church. When does Christ ever serve the church?” – Answer:Jesus Himself says that in His Kingdom, He (Jesus Christ) serves His church (see Luke 12;37). Therefore, the Christian husband is just as obligated to serve his wife, as his wife is obligated to love her husband like Christ loves the church. It’s mutual love, mutual submission, and mutual servanthood.
3. The image of God is as much seen in the woman He created, as it is in the man He created.
Many Christians have an image of God as a man. The invisible, immortal God is “not a man.” In fact, God will often represent Himself as female. God says to His people: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15). In Calvin’s commentary on this verse, the great orthodox theologian writes,
“God did not satisfy himself with proposing the example of a father, but in order to express his very strong affection, God chose to liken himself to a mother, and calls His people not merely children, but the fruit of His womb, towards which there is usually a warmer affection.” (John Calvin)
In Genesis 1:27 it is said, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; maleand female he created them.” The male and the female were created by God. The male and the female both bear the image of God. The male and the female are both included in the Hebrew word adam (man) –“So God created (adam )… He created them.” Notice that God says “so that they (the man and the woman) rule over the animals.…” (Genesis 1;26). The male and the female were both designed by God as equals in the co-regency of the world God created.
Any system, any society, any organization that places one gender as an authority over the other, whether it be patriarchal or matriarchal in nature, is a direct violation of the command and design of the Creator God. When God calls and gifts a person to accomplish a task, restrictions to the accomplishment of that task never take the form of gender. The notion that women can’t do some spiritual things that men can do in the church or in the home – like teach, lead, etc. – is a contradiction of the Scriptures themselves.
4. Your identity and worth as an individual should come solely from who you are by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and not your marriage.
Jesus said, “At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage…” (Matthew 22:30). Marriage is something that is not eternal. At some point, marriage will end for everyone. If a Christian marriage comes to an end, it is possible for the newly single Christian to find the same fulfillment and joy here and now that he or she will experience eternally. A divorcee who trusts Christ, a graced widow or widower, or even Christian singles who have never married have as much personal value, identity and significance as any married Christian. In fact, it might be said that there is an advantage for the Christian who is not married; he or she has the opportunity to understand how to function individually now as Christ intends us to function eternally in the resurrection. .
Since all marriages will one day end for everyone, then there should be little emphasis on the form of one’s family, and a much greater emphasis on the function of individual Christians within whatever kind of family unit they are in. What is our function or purpose as followers of Jesus? We are to love others as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). When we learn to function in love, we never fail; even though the form our family once took has come to an end (I Corinthians 13:8).
by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©
[Note: My ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is fond of ‘camping out’ on a few Scripture verses, even words, to prohibit Christian women from using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them in serving the church, including in teaching, preaching and leading. GBFSV pastors/elders’ claim this is ‘Biblical’. In point of fact, it’s not. Baptist women have been leaders, teachers, and missionaries for hundreds of years. I remembered that my Presbyterian grandmother’s (she died at 102 years old) medical missionary friends — women doctors — who practiced medicine, taught The Gospel in villages around the world, and they improved lives wherever God put them. I saw the slides as a child.
Given the Baptists descent into hyper-NeoCalvinism since the 1990’s and Complementarianism (women ‘obey’ and ‘submit’), not even traditional Baptist women heros of the faith such as Lottie Moon would be permitted to serve under today’s new hyper-restrictions. Concerned Christians have invented some new words to describe the NeoCalvinists’ Dark Ages thinking about women. “Chrislam” for having restrictions on women that are like radical Islam’s. It’s also been called “Shehad” (She+had, sounds like “jihad”), a term invented by blogger/Christian/researcher Brad Sargent/FuturistGuy https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/ to describe the NeoCalvinists’ “war on women”. I reject these NeoCalvinist teachings, which are *un-Biblical*.]
*This article is reblogged from Wade Burleson, Istoria Ministries, website with permission:
The’ Woman of Error in I Timothy 2:12 Shouldn’t Teach
The Bible is replete with examples of men and women gifted by God to teach and to lead. No Bible-believing Christian seems to have a problem with men leading or teaching, but women fulfilling those roles, as gifted by the Holy Spirit, seems to cause consternation in the lives of some who are more familiar with tradition than truth. We have dozens of illustrations in the New Testament of women teaching men (Priscilla, Anna, Philip’sfour unmarried daughters, and many, many more). There are also dozens of additional illustrations in the Bible of women leading men.
I Timothy 2:11-15 Is the Text Used by Men to Restrict Gifted Women
Following is the text that is used to stifle women. I have placed only four words in (bold) that more accurately translate what Paul is saying, words that are a direct translation of the Greek. The reasons for the four words I supply will be explained below:
“Let a (the) woman learn in quietness and full submission. “12I do not permit a (the) woman to teach or to assume authority over a (the) man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women (lit. “she“) will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
The verses above seem to say, at least on the surface and without the four words I’ve supplied, that no woman should ever teach any man; that no woman should ever assume any ‘authority’ over any man; and that all women must always be quiet in the presence of men. Of course, most evangelical conservative men would say that the Apostle Paul was only addressing women “in the church” and “in the home” so that women in the political world, corporate world, and secular world, are not under these restrictions. I find it humorous that conservatives complain of “potential malignancy” in one’s gospel orthodoxy if one can find a way to make this I Timothy 2 text say that it is okay for women to teach men or have authority over men “in the church.” Why is that humorous to me? Because those same conservative men have already found a way (rightly so) to explain how a woman can have leadership over a man and teach a man in every other realm of life (politics, business, etc…). Do we remember when Condi Rice, Secretary of State, spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006? She taught us Southern Baptist men a great deal about war and the bombing of terrorists, and we applauded her leadership as Secretary of State. So much for the gospel malignancy theory.
But back to the I Timothy 2 text above. For those of you “in the church” who get stuck on this text, and as a result, refuse to have women read the Bible in public at church, or teach a discipleship class with men in it, or refuse to have women serve as trustees, or elders, or committee chairpersons “in the church: lest they ‘assume authority’ over men, let me help you see how you are totally ignoring the clear teaching of the New Testament in favor of a poor and false interpretation of these I Timothy 2 verses. For all you out there in cyberland, and for a few of you in local churches who want to make women in leadership an issue of gospel orthodoxy, I will provide below a very clear interpretation of I Timothy 2:12-15 that is consistent with the rest of the New Testament’s teaching on empowering women in their giftedness. There are five basic principles that must be understood in order to rightly comprehend what Paul is saying:
(1). Paul is addressing a problem Timothy had with a specific woman teaching heresy to a specific man in the church at Ephesus.
How do we know this? There are at least four grammatical reasons:
(a). Paul gives instructions to “women” (plural) in the beginning of chapter two (i.e. how to dress modestly, live of life of good works, etc…), but beginning with verse 11, Paul switches from the plural noun (women) to the singular noun (woman). The definitive article “the” is in the original Greek (i.e. “the woman”), not the unfortunate translation “a” woman (NIV; NASB). Paul moves from instructions to women in general (vs. 9-10) to a very direct instruction for a specific woman in verse 11. You can verify this quite easily with any online interlinear.
(b). The “she” in verse 15 is third person singular (again, the NIV and NASB unfortunately mistranslates the third person singular Greek pronoun in v. 15 with the plural English noun “women”). The “she” of verse 15 is the same woman in verse 11 and verse 12. She is the woman who needs correcting.
(c). “…if they continue” (v.15). The word “they” is the accurate translation of the third person plural used by Paul. This plural pronoun identifies not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving (“the woman” and “the man” of v. 12).
(d). The verb “continue” is in the aorist active subjunctive. This verb’s tense confirms that the instructions Paul gives in vs. 11-15 are designed for the woman and the man in question (v. 12), to two people who are alive at the time Paul is writing and not to those who are either dead or not yet born (i.e. Eveor women in general).
(2). The woman in question was teaching error out of her ignorance and should be shown mercy.
Mercy and love toward false teachers is one of the themes of letter we call I Timothy, particularly because the assembly at Ephesus was a church filled with people from pagan backgrounds: “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:3-5).
Paul has already spoken of the ignorance he was in before he was taught the truth: “(I) was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief“ (I Timothy 1:13).
Paul mentions how Eve sinned in ignorance: “…it was the woman (Eve) who was deceived and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:13). The entire first two chapters of I Timothy are leading up to Paul expressing sympathy toward, and encouraging Timothy to display love to, that woman teaching error. We know that Paul wrote this letter in response to problems Timothy was facing in Ephesus, and those problems were known by Paul (I Timothy 3:14-15). This is a personal letter, not a general epistle, and proper interpretation requires the reader to delve into why Paul wrote the letter in the first place.
(3). Paul expressed hope that this woman will be saved by Christ, even though she is in error.
Verse 15 “she will be saved through (the) childbearing” is a reference to the the woman’s salvation through the Incarnation of Christ (the childbearing). The word teknogonia is used just once in Scripture and the word is NOT a verb (childbearing)–it is a noun (THE childbearing). This is a reference to the Messiah, who was born from a woman despite the deception of Eve. The Messiah came to destroy the destroyer, to crush the head of the Serpent who deceives, and the deceived woman of I Timothy 2 will be saved through “the childbearing” if stops teaching heresy, learns of Christ in complete submissiveness (v. 11), and continues in“faith, love, and holiness in propriety.”
(4). Scripture only expresses a prohibition on women teaching error, never on women teaching men.
A similar passage to I Timothy 2:11-15 is Revelation 2:20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
The problem with Jezebel was not that she “teaches and leads.” The problem with Jezebel was that she taught and led others “astray.” The only solution for a woman who teaches and leads astray is for her to first learn the truth. This is precisely the solution Paul proposes to Timothy for the woman of I Timothy 2. She must first learn “in quietness and full submission” (v.11). By the way, this is also a good practice for any man who is teaching error. He should be confronted and told to FIRST learn in quietness and submission before he attempts to teach.
(5). The people who misinterpret Paul and attempt to prohibit women from teaching or leading men are ignoring the entire tenor and teaching of the New Testament.
God empowers His people through giftings and anoints His people to fulfill their calling through the Holy Spirit. The giftings of God are never distributed according to gender. The calling of God is never limited according to physiology. When the daughters of Philip prophecied, it was by the giftings of God and the anointing of the Spirit. When Anna taught the men in the Temple it was in fulfillment of the calling of God on her life and through the giftings and anointing of the Spirit. From Priscilla, to Lydia, to Junia, to Phoebe, and to all the rest of the New Testament women God used to expand His kingdom through prophesying, teaching and leading other men and women, God has gifted and anointed as many women as He has men.
Let’s not traditions trump truth.