Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, or Mystery

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The other day when we were discussing the terms Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, and Patriarchy to describe how Christian couples view their gender roles within the marriage (What is Difference Between Complementarianism and Patriarchy?), Pastor Ken Garrett must have gotten a bee in his bonnet and wanted to dig a little deeper for himself.   I love it when that happens.  🙂

Ken is uncomfortable with labels (me, too).  We can’t put marriages in boxes.  We are all so unique in how we relate with one another, with gifts and weaknesses.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen beautiful Complementarian marriages where both men and women are honored and respected and cherished.  I’ve seen good Egalitarian marriages.   The key seems to be for husband and wife to work together to find the best arrangement for themselves.   Ken’s got the floor today.  Enjoy!  ~ja

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Complementariansm, Egalitarianism, or Mystery

by Pastor Ken Garrett

Patriarchy in its Biblical application seems more related to the formal, legal transfer of family wealth and tribal leadership, as demonstrated by Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s deep concern for the “blessing” transfers that transpired between them and their sons. Material wealth was a big deal, and since there were no courts of law, national ordinances, etc. in the particular time-frame of that family line  (approx. 2,000 B.C. give or take a few centuries), they developed a system for transferring family wealth upon the death of the family/tribal leader.

That’s why the theft of the Patriarchal blessing meant so much to Rebekah, for instance, in leading her to scheme and plot to make sure it went to her favorite son, Jacob, and not to his brother, Esau. The Patriarchal transfer of wealth also accounted for Sarah’s insistence that Ishmael (legally Abraham and Sarah’s son) not be allowed to remain in the family and thereby threaten her own son’s rights to inheritance.

There are very few examples in the actual biographies of the patriarchs that describe the fathers/husbands as ruling with an iron hand, as modern-day advocates of Patriarchal leadership often do. For instance, Sarah seemed to call the shots in her home to the point of arranging for a surrogate to bear her a child. Rebekah played the men in her life like chess pieces, although in doing so she lost her relationships with all of them, and never saw her favorite son again after he fled their home in fear for his life.

Jacob’s wives (two) and concubines (two) at no point ever cowed under his leadership, but actually manipulated and used him to produce children, and eagerly joined him in his plan to flee from his father-in-law Laban (again, out of concern for unjust treatment in the transfer of their father’s wealth). In fact, when Jacob became convinced that he should flee Laban and return to Canaan, the first thing he did was to call his wives to him, to consult with them regarding his intention, of which they heartily agreed!

Tamar played the Patriarchal lineage and transfer of wealth game like a (literal!) pro, running circles around Judah. In short, the women of the Patriarchs do not demonstrate the type of door-mat submission that is often assumed about them. Heck, the language itself even suggests that Sarah was in cahoots with Abram when he passed her off as his sister in Egypt! For good or bad, better or worse, the marriages of the Patriarchs were ones that demonstrated a deep degree of cooperation between husbands and wives, and may even reflect a powerful dominance on the part of the wives.

However, the Patriarchal system dictated a specific way for wealth to be transferred to children and heirs and that is the primary function of the system—not the establishment of certain roles and responses in the marriage relationship. While the subsequent history of marriage in the Hebrew community remained male-led in appearance, there is strong evidence that wives co-led with their husbands (cf. Moses first wife, the daughters of Zelophehad (Josh 17), Hannah, Bathsheba, etc.) in their day-to-day lives.

As to Complementariansm, I’m not sure of the origins of the word, but we should be cautious in discarding it as a description simply on the basis of it not appear in Scripture as a word. This is a short-sighted and erroneous line of reasoning –  the word iceberg doesn’t appear there, either, but icebergs certainly existed on earth. Just because the English translation of harpazo was not translated “rapture” does not mean that the original Greek word did not, in fact, describe a literal snatching away of someone. So, for folks to have coined the term Complementarian or Egalitarian should be a source of gratitude for all, because now we have some words to describe the actual beliefs. Unlike Patriarchy, these two words describe marital relationships by design.

I’m uncomfortable with each of them, but agree with parts of each of their definitions. I agree that according to Scripture, as I best understand it, there are differences between men and women, not only in their physical design, but also in their very beginnings: each were created differently and independently by God, each in a way that was different from every other thing He made, in all of creation. This is very significant to me.  Each gender must have an independent history with God  – unless one believes that it is a mere accident that they were each created so differently from, and independent of, each other.

So, I believe in God’s design, which is expressed and described to us in the Pre-Fall, that the woman does relate to her husband as a type of partner and support. While she does not seem to be the leader, she also is not a mere employee or servant. There is no indication that the woman desired to “move up” the authority ladder and become a leader over Adam. Neither is there any indication that Adam ruled over/led, or even delegated tasks to his wife. They were together, intimate, and unashamed.

It is notable that the first instance of Eve acting or speaking independently of her partner, Adam, is when she tragically chose to rebel against God, and immediately turned to include her husband in the crime. Sure, each sinned and each chose to disobey – perhaps Adam was just as prone to enter into conversations with serpents as Eve was, but the text is all that we have of the account, and we have to play it where it lies.

My point is that as from their very creation, women have certainly been able to make independent, autonomous decisions, and have proven themselves just as prone to deception as men! This doesn’t argue (to me) that women should therefore never lead anything, but that they certainly should not claim a superior moral or ethical basis of taking leadership, at least not because of any gender distinction.  So, despite its problems in current-day application, I agree that there are gender distinctions in the Bible. The question is whether those distinctions are presented as a genuine Biblical basis of role assignment. That is a huge issue, with intelligent, godly men and women on each side, and I haven’t travelled near as far down that road of study as would allow me to write much about it!

As for Egalitarianism, I fully subscribe to the argument that my wife and I do, in fact, function as a team, and that in many, many areas of our marriage she is the initiator, leader, and organizer. I suppose many of my Complementarian brothers and sisters might have problems with that – but then, it is our marriage, and it’s blessed me (and I hope her!) for over 30 years.

I suppose in the end, if there were ever a situation that called for me to simply decide on a course of action for our family, and there was literally not time for dialogue, prayer, etc., I’d make a decision and hope she supported me in it simply trusting that I was doing my best out of love for her and my family. It would really be up to her, not me, but we really have never had that kind of crisis to face in our particular marriage.

My problem with the Egalitarian argument is that they often violate what I believe to be the basic “rules” of interpretation – of any piece of literature. Egalitarians often (just my opinion) resort to the idea that if the Bible goes against our present ideas of righteousness, fairness, equity, etc., then the problem must be with the Bible, and not with our own, quite-temporal, notions of those things.

A good example is found in a frequent use of Galatians 3 to justify the removal of gender distinctions in church polity and the home life. It is argued that because “in Christ” we are all accepted and adopted, and there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28), therefore (they argue) there is no longer any gender distinctions. This application of the verse not only violates the context of the verse (which is about the general acceptance extended across all human boundaries for salvation through the gospel), but also violates common logic, as those to whom these words were written (the Galatians) certainly remained in their status and condition as slaves, Greeks, men, women, etc. In other words, the distinctions, such as gender distinction, that Egalitarians routinely seek to disregard and nullify – remained fast in place–despite Paul’s words. Therefore, Paul must have been speaking metaphorically of salvation, not church polity or marriage roles.

In summary, I continue to fall back on my assertion that the divine, inscrutable mystery of the heterosexual, monogamous marriage relationship is mostly lost on both Complementariansm and Egalitarians, and their respective doctrines and teachings do not come close to understanding, describing, or advising marriages themselves. For me, the poets come the closest to doing those things (Solomon, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, etc.)

“Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD. 7 “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised.” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)

Now the ritual begins ‘Neath the wedding garland we meet as strangers The dance floor is alive with beauty Mystery and danger We dance out ‘neath the stars’ ancient light into the darkening trees Oh won’t you baby be in my book of dreams?  (Bruce Springsteen, Book of Dreams)

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139 comments on “Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, or Mystery

  1. This article actually articulates very closely my views on these ideas, although it does it likely better than I could in less space, hence why though I may describe myself as more complementarian than egalitarian at times, I still have difficulty using that term because it is not completely accurate.

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  2. I think most egalitarians would object to the idea that they do not see differences between the genders. Rather, the issue is whether those differences dictate different roles in marriage, the community, and the church. Equal in rights, equal in authority, equal in relationships, but not identical.

    I highly commend that people interested in understanding the egalitarian position read the publications of Christians for Biblical Equality, including their statement of faith.

    “CBE is founded on the following
    biblical principles:

    We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, is reliable, and is the final authority for faith and practice.

    We believe in the unity and trinity of God, eternally existing as three equal persons.

    We believe in the full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ.

    We believe in the sinfulness of all persons. One result of sin is shattered relationships with God, others, and self.

    We believe that eternal salvation and restored relationships are possible through faith in Jesus Christ who died for us, rose from the dead, and is coming again. This salvation is offered to all people.

    We believe in the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, and in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers.

    We believe in the equality and essential dignity of men and women of all ethnicities, ages, and classes. We recognize that all persons are made in the image of God and are to reflect that image in the community of believers, in the home, and in society.

    We believe that men and women are to diligently develop and use their God-given gifts for the good of the home, church, and society.

    We believe in the family, celibate singleness, and faithful heterosexual marriage as God’s design.

    We believe that, as mandated by the Bible, men and women are to oppose injustice.

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  3. JoeJoe said:

    This article actually articulates very closely my views on these ideas, although it does it likely better than I could in less space . . .

    Yes, Joe, you nailed it. I think the labeling helps a bit to describe in general what kind of marriage one has, but as Ken described his own marriage in who leads, the lines are blurry. I don’t know if the guys who coined the term Complementarianism would want any of their wives leading them in anything. And that would be completely out of the question for Patriarchical (is that how you spell it?) marriages.

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  4. The way I use the term Patriarchy here on this blog is quite different from what we read of the patriarchs of the Bible. Patriarchy, the way Doug Phillips et al use the term, is as I have previously said, Complementarianism on steroids. There would be no women leading men in anything. It is extremely hierarchical in structure with men ruling over women and very proud of that fact.

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  5. Thanks Ken,

    These are thoughtful words, as always. I, too, am uncomfortable with the labels but perhaps for a different reason. I suspect the two “sides” are both driven, more than they know, by identity considerations that are not in the passages they cite in support of their positions.

    I would probably give Gal. 3:28 more weight than you in gender discussions, though I agree that it doesn’t speak directly to the issues. What I think it does do is challenge cultural assumptions, like slavery, indirectly by establishing our identity in Christ.

    Thanks again for a very thoughtful post.

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  6. Patriarchy, the way Doug Phillips et al use the term, is as I have previously said, Complementarianism on steroids. There would be no women leading men in anything. It is extremely hierarchical in structure with men ruling over women and very proud of that fact.

    I prefer the term “Male Supremacy” or “Male Supremacist”, and would like to see the term more widely used.

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  7. I am wondering what my friends in same-sex marriages would think to read this – and remember, in Canada and many other countries in the world, it is the law of the land. If anyone is interested in what one politician in New Zealand has to say on this topic (they have voted on and passed a Marriage Equality Bill just recently) you might want to look up Maurice Williamson/gay rainbow speech on YouTube- it’s funny, heartfelt, and articulate. It’s also made him a YouTube sensation!

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  8. “good example is found in a frequent use of Galatians 3 to justify the removal of gender distinctions in church polity and the home life.”

    I would like to take a stab at this whole paragraph but this part first. There are some problems with the interpretations that many comps who should know better today, do not take into consideration. I will only name a few and won’t go into the masses of research on it but there are great sources to check out. One is Junia who was great AMONG the apostles. (little a). Another more obscure passage that puts a damper on comp roles in marriage is Luke 8:

    “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

    Here we have a married woman traveling around with men and supporting Jesus and the other men financially. What are we to make of this? We have no indication she needed permission but that considering the culture of the time and her exhalted situation in Herods palace, she might have been rebelling. It does not seem to be a sin in Jesus’ eyes.

    Another consideration with “polity” and so called “offices” is 1 Corin 11 where Paul casually mentions women “prophesying” in the Body. I realize many have tried to redefine prophesy in this particular context to make it go away, but it is a stretch.

    In 1 Tim when it talks about anyone desiring to be an elder…the word is “tis” and means anyone. ‘husband of one wife” does not help us because it would mean Paul was not qualified to be an elder. Nor Jesus for that matter. :o)

    Phoebe was more than the typical interpretation of “servant”. She was a bonafide Deacon. And a benefactor of the church.

    We know that Lydia started the first church in Europe in her home. We are to assume she never functioned in that church in any of the capacities?

    There is more but I will stop. The only thing that surprises me about the above few examples I cite here is that there are this many examples to cite from the 1st Century context.

    But there is something backing all this up: Pentecost. It changed everything concerning the old covenant that came from the fall and even though it might have been dribs and drabs of sisters stepping up to the plate, it is something we all seem to forget in this discussion of roles:

    “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
    18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.

    Again, many want to redefine Prophesy and allow that Paul redefined it for us in terms of polity. Perhaps we are too stuck on “polity” and not enough on the spiritual?

    What we tend to do is interpret Paul as rules for today and not in it’s historical context. We tend to use the bible as a manual and proof text application. But then we seem to have no problem with a woman pastor (missionary) in the bush in Africa.

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  9. “It is argued that because “in Christ” we are all accepted and adopted, and there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28), therefore (they argue) there is no longer any gender distinctions. This application of the verse not only violates the context of the verse (which is about the general acceptance extended across all human boundaries for salvation through the gospel), but also violates common logic, as those to whom these words were written (the Galatians) certainly remained in their status and condition as slaves, Greeks, men, women, etc. In other words, the distinctions, such as gender distinction, that Egalitarians routinely seek to disregard and nullify – remained fast in place–despite Paul’s words. Therefore, Paul must have been speaking metaphorically of salvation, not church polity or marriage roles.”

    I disagree that Paul was speaking metaphorically of salvation ONLY and here is why. Those pesky translators always find the most convenient chapter breaks. They did it in Eph 5, too. If we continue to read in chapter 4 of Galatians we see more information about being “heirs”. In salvation we receive adoption into “sonship”. What? A woman can become a son? As an adopted “heir” I receive it ALL. Which means I can receive any of the gifting’s that are given to the Body.

    We see this same application to women as to slaves. Paul never demands freedom for slaves but he sure encouraged them to win their freedom if they could. He was not there to upset the civil structure of society but for Christians to show a higher love. In fact, a very radical position for Paul was to plead with Philemon to receive Oni back as a “brother in Christ” when he was his slave. In that context, Oni could have been put to death for running away. So the owner, a believer, was to treat his slave as a brother in Christ.

    So a different societal structure within the Body of Christ than the world. Oni is still legally a slave but totally equal within the body.

    Galatians 3 tells me I am a FULL heir. That means whatever comes out of salvation, too.

    “….Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female.”

    Notice how with male AND female there is no either/or. It is both/and. Interesting to read in an interlinear. There are NO spiritual distinctions for gender in the Body of Christ as full heirs. There ARE biological distinctions and will always be no matter what the culture says. It simply has no bearing on our salvation process nor in sanctification. We tend to bring that in ourselves using Paul’s letters to SPECIFIC churches as clubs. It would be natural for them to have a ton of questions for Paul about something so radical as Christianity in practice in their culture. Much of what we read is hinges on operating in their historical context. to give you an example of how bad it is with translators, take a look at 1 Tim 5:14. The translators chose the word “manage” for young widows and their homes. But the Greek word is oikodespoteo and where we get the word “despot” which means ruler of the home. That does not sound comp, does it. Sounds like a full heir who is to be the co ruler of the home when we take the entire periscope into consideration.

    There is not a pink and blue sanctification. There is not a pink and blue prophesying. There is not a pink and blue shepherding. It is spiritual. It transcends gender. And I would hope so because my model is Christ and he came as a man. So what am I to do if there is a pink and blue sanctification? Who would be my model to follow? My Savior who came as a male in the flesh but was also God who transcends gender.

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  10. BTW: I hate the word egalitarian. I much prefer mutulalist or mutualism. Egalitarian has too much of a French Revolution sound to it. 😮 )

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  11. lydiasellerofpurple-

    I’m not really following your disagreement in regards to Galatians 3:28. Remember first what Paul is writing to the Church in Galatia about. The Jews in the church were claiming that the male Gentiles needed to become circumcised in order to receive the promise that was first offered to the Jews (that promise being salvation through a Messiah, Christ Jesus). Basically, they were telling the Gentiles that they could be saved by faith in Christ PLUS be circumcised. Paul wrote to refute this idea specifically and other ideas like it in general. That is the entire purpose of his letter to the Galatians, that there is but one Gospel, that we are saved by one thing and one thing alone, and that it is offered equally to everyone. That is the general context of Galatians 3:28.

    The immediate context of the verse can be seen in Galatians 3:23-4:7. Paul is speaking of our equality in Christ Jesus. Prior to Christ, God was the God of the Jews, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Jews were His children. The Law was given to the Jews, not to outsiders. With Christ’s sacrifice, access to God was given to all. We could all be called children of God. Verse 26 says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Verse 28 really drives home that we are all saved through the same faith. Verse 29 then makes it clear that if we belong to Christ, we too are part of the promise given to Abraham. Verse 29 also brings up that we are heirs, which leads us into the first part of chapter 4.

    In the first part of chapter 4, Paul uses an illustration of slaves and underage heirs. The underage heir he likens to a slave (vs. 1) saying that the heir, while owner, is still under watch by guardians until the appointed time (vs 2). In chapter 3, Paul calls this guardian the law. These underage heirs then, would be the Jews, who were under the Law until the time appointed by “the Father.” The slaves then in chapter 4 would be the gentiles. Paul is saying that these two groups are essentially the same. Verse 3 says, “So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.” So everyone is a “slave.” At the appointed time though (connecting with vs 2), God sent his Son so that we might “receive adoption of sonship (vs 5).” Sonship is used here simply because it is part of a legal term in ancient Roman culture. It was the male child that would inherit from the father (not the female child). A male that was legally adopted into a family would have the exact same rights to inheritence as the biological male chlid. Verse 7 tells us that if we are in Christ, we are no longer a slave, but an equal heir of his promise, because we are, through adoption, legally his child as if by birth (Gentiles have an equal promise as the Jews). The word sonship in the verse has no other bearing or weight on gender issues.

    This passage is indeed speaking of our equality in Christ in terms of our salvation. I do agree that spiritually we are all equal. We can all be given different gifts and abilities. Our spiritual standing before God is equal. We are of equal importance, value, and essense. This verse does not refute the idea however of general gender differences. Yes, there are obvious biological difference, but the differences go beyond the biological. There are also, in general, differences between male in female in the way that we communicate, think, process ideas, and convey emotion. These differences are backed up also by secular psychological study.

    Whether a model closer to egalitarianism or complementarianism or inbtween is more Biblical would still be up for debate. To use Galatians 3:28 for a verse supporting an egalitarian view of marriage by claiming there are no differences, however, is bad hermaneutics. That is what Pastor Ken was getting at.

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  12. “A male that was legally adopted into a family would have the exact same rights to inheritence as the biological male chlid. Verse 7 tells us that if we are in Christ, we are no longer a slave, but an equal heir of his promise, because we are, through adoption, legally his child as if by birth (Gentiles have an equal promise as the Jews). The word sonship in the verse has no other bearing or weight on gender issues.”

    When we are adopted we are FULL heirs. Why talk about sonship and being an heir if it does not include everything that comes WITH being an heir?

    Look, the comps lose if this is NOT ONLY about salvation so I am used to this position. It is sort of inbred and few look at inheritance in that context. Look at what Abraham got: Land and a ton of descendants. IT IS about salvation but it is also about INHERITANCE. Salvation is not all we “inherit” as heirs of the promise. You are saved now go do your role as a woman/man? Let us face it, there is no sanctification without justification and visa versa. Being heirs means we receive all there is to offer. That includes indwelling Holy Spirit, spiritual gifting’s, etc. The only problem is smart guys came along and made it into an institutional structure with fine lines drawn and took away part of the inheritance for woman. So the comps seem to be saying, “Hey, you can be filled the Holy Spirit to prophesy but just make sure when you do that it is not teaching men”! Seriously?

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  13. ” To use Galatians 3:28 for a verse supporting an egalitarian view of marriage by claiming there are no differences, however, is bad hermaneutics. ”

    I am not understanding you all. Differences in what, specifically? Are you speaking spiritually or physically or both? Are you trying to tell me there is some pink form of sanctification for women that is different from men’s? Anyone who thinks men and women are the same physically is insane. Don’t talk to them. :o)

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  14. Hi Lydiaseller… Re: @1:56 My point, in the original posting, is that Gal 3 is a very poor text to refer to if one is intending to argue either for a comp or an egal understanding of marital roles, and church polity because those issues are clearly not the subject matter that Paul is addressing in that portion of Scripture. The central, controlling purpose of Gal 3 is to explore and clarify the universal acceptance in the gospel of all who are Christ, particularly that they no longer are in need of the tutorial role of the Law, having finally been brought to Christ (3:24-25). The use of the word “sons” (ie, v26) is a use of the masculine noun that includes, through its context (the “we” “our” “all” nouns in the same paragraph) both male and female, as NT writers did not use a neuter noun to describe both genders, but instead used a type of universal masculine noun to do so. (Kind of like when I say, “Hey guys, how’s it going?” to a room full of both men and women…) I would imagine this distinction also applies to the subsequent uses of masculine nouns in the chapter 4, dealing with issues of sonship/inheritance in Christ.

    So, yes, the context does certainly argue that Paul is writing about both genders, but it seems a stretch to me to force the passage to also argue for the removal of gender distinctions in Scripture, let alone biblical teaching concerning church polity and leadership. Your points of reply (the Junia theory (based on a feminine noun ending), the effect of Pentecost, the presence of females travelling with, and supporting Jesus, etc.) are all fair game for discussion, but (so far) I simply haven’t found them to be compelling…yet!

    It seems to me that any gender distinction that denies a person exercising his/her Spiritual gifts and calling cannot be of God. However, both male and females leaders should be willing to submit themselves to the authority of the congregation, the church, for the affirmation of their gifting and calling, and not to ecclesial structures or rules, either in obtaining the office they aspire to, or keeping others from the office! No matter how much a person, male or female, may desire to be a “leader,” if there is, in fact, no one willingly following–than he/she probably has misjudged their self-assessment. But heck, if a church body affirms that the Spirit of God has certainly called a woman to lead them–more power to them! But, for both men and women, it is a long, difficult, character-driven road that leads to such a high calling. This is a bit off topic of comp-egal stuff, sorry!

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  15. “So, yes, the context does certainly argue that Paul is writing about both genders, but it seems a stretch to me to force the passage to also argue for the removal of gender distinctions in Scripture, let alone biblical teaching concerning church polity and leadership.”

    Thanks for your reasoned response. And This is the part that always confuses me. I am trying to figure out what the gender “distinctions” mean exactly in terms of the “spiritual” when talking with those who lean comp or are comp. But to dive into that we must go into all the other proof texts. Oy vey.

    What I cannot figure out was why Paul put “nor male AND female” in that context if it had no real meaning to his 1st Century audience? And even then what is it to mean for us today?

    I hope no one is thinking that I want to remove gender distinctions but I am trying to figure them out “spiritually” instead of applying 1st Century context to us when there are so many contradictions such as we see women prophesying in the body but then interpretations that say women cannot teach men. Or, there is no authority at all in a “one flesh union” marriage anywhere in the NT except what is communicated in 1 Corin 7 where both have authority over each other’s bodies. That sort of thing. There are a ton of contradictions, you know. Amazing when you piece them all together…some in the same book!

    What I fear is that much of the interpretation of Gal 3 is a cultural backlash and we are reading our fear of “no gender distinction in the culture” back into scripture to be “safe”. Which is why I think so many focus on the salvation only aspect do not look at what a full inheritance really means. So why talk about being full heirs and mention “nor male AND female” along with slaves, free, Jews, Gentiles?

    Thanks for exchange. Enjoyed your article!

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  16. Heck, the language itself even suggests that Sarah was in cahoots with Abram when he passed her off as his sister in Egypt!

    A very old National Geographic article on Abram mentioned that in Abram’s culture, a sister outranked a wife in family pecking order, that it was common to adopt a specially-beloved wife as your legal sister to advance her position in the clan/tribe, and that this was a point of pride that Abram would have mentioned to Pharoah.

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  17. Hi Lydia @ 4:33: Thank you for your response. I suppose if we can make an honest assessment of why Paul contrasted Jews and Greeks, and slaves and freemen, then we would have a good idea of why he included the contrast of male and female, as all pairs are used in the sentence in the same manner, and are logically trying to support the same idea.

    Here’s my best shot at it: In the Jewish religion of Paul’s day males and females were generally forced to worship separately, as the women were often directed to the balcony portion of ancient synagogues, and the men were on the main floor. Also, the OT temple design itself, with its “court of the women” and “court of Gentiles” suggests that women and Gentiles were barred the closeness of access to the Inner Courts that Jewish men enjoyed. Since he’s into such a significant discussion here in Gal 3 of OT/Law/Jewishness, Paul seems to be arguing that in God’s new design (as you’ve mentioned re. Pentecost) has effectively removed what once were barriers to certain groups and types approaching Him. That’s why I’m so hot on keeping the male-female distinction closely tied to Paul’s central purpose, and not using it to forward any particular view on marriage roles, church structures, etc. So, it actually is a very, very spiritually relevant issue, not just “practical”, that Paul is writing of: nothing less than whether or not a person’s access to a relationship with God is barred on the basis of their legal and gender status, or their cultural heritage!

    Hi Headless Unicorn Guy! @ 5:08. That is an interesting assertion, regarding Abe’s motives for presenting Sarah as his sister, but…the text itself does argue that his primary motive was not to impress, but to escape from being killed (or so he feared) by Pharaoh when the king saw Sarah’s beauty (12:11ff). The argument that Sarai was complicit is admittedly one from silence, but, since she later demonstrates a distinct ability to assert herself, and to make moral-spiritual compromises to get what she wants…it seems plausible that she was going along with Abe’s plan, IMO (cf. Gen 16). Thank you for reading and responding to my article!

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  18. Hi Carmen @10:48 I’m not ignoring you! You wrote: “I am wondering what my friends in same-sex marriages would think to read this – and remember, in Canada and many other countries in the world, it is the law of the land.”
    I imagine both your friends and my friends in same-sex marriages would disagree, and may be disappointed in my understanding of marriage as a heterosexual relationship. Hopefully, they would graciously allow for a difference of opinion between us (as I do for them) that need not result in hostility, withdrawal, or a diminishment of the confidence that ALL who simply trust Jesus for salvation will be saved, and all who trust in Jesus are now brothers and sisters in Him!

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  19. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave7 nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28 ESV).

    I am having great difficulty seeing how this passage is anything other than a clear and compelling indication that, among other things, each party to a one flesh marital union is equal. Yes, the preceding sentences are making the point that we are not under law, but the support for this proposition is simply that we are beneficiaries of the promises made to Abraham, not by reason of adherence to the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s polemic against submission to law in no way depends upon his assertion that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female–nor does this assertion of equality add anything Paul’s main point. Rather, the absence of distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female–this being one in Christ Jesus– is simply said to be the OUTWORKING of the promise received through faith. This outworking is stated without limitation. “[B]ut now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” (Gal. 3:25-26 ESV).

    To me, the Gal. 3:28 passage is sufficient in and of itself to demonstrate that, in every area and without limitation, in Christ there is equality between races, social stations and sexes, period. Even if the passage were not in and of itself a sufficient ground to demonstrate such equality, it still would be a very significant and compelling piece of the overall Scriptural puzzle.

    Now, if the point being made is that Gal. 3:28 will not convince those who are already committed to a distinction in roles between the sexes, that I will readily concede. I almost could suppose that some of these people will one day find themselves arguing about the matter with Jesus Himself!

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  20. Rather, the absence of distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female–this being one in Christ Jesus– is simply said to be the OUTWORKING of the promise received through faith. This outworking is stated without limitation. “[B]ut now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” (Gal. 3:25-26 ESV).”

    Thanks Gary, you articulated that much better with less words!

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  21. “That’s why I’m so hot on keeping the male-female distinction closely tied to Paul’s central purpose, and not using it to forward any particular view on marriage roles, church structures, etc. So, it actually is a very, very spiritually relevant issue, not just “practical”, that Paul is writing of: nothing less than whether or not a person’s access to a relationship with God is barred on the basis of their legal and gender status, or their cultural heritage!”

    Just another way to look it outside the box: Saying it does not negate the roles put forward in other proof texts brings us another problem. Why are there no instructions about gender roles in Galatians to clarify gender roles in such a legalistic environment after hearing this?. Would they not be confused about such in the body after reading this in a letter from Paul? I think they understood perfectly what “full inheritance” meant but not how to apply it, perhaps. It was pretty radical for that time to think of slaves and women having full inheritance of anything. What a joy it must have been for them.

    Were they not as properly taught as the Ephesians, for example, when it came to marriage structure or women’s roles in the church? The poor Philippians weren’t either and that church started in a woman’s home.

    See, I find this a big problem for the comp teaching. These churches were far apart and letters written over time. If gender roles are so very important would we not see more exhortation about it in each of the letters? Same with appointing elders, etc, etc.

    It just is not a “strong theme” throughout the NT and in fact much contradicts that it is a major focus at all. May the Lord help our focus be spiritual and not “role” playing.

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  22. I have learned so much from so many great commenters, including:

    Lydia said, “BTW: I hate the word egalitarian. I much prefer mutulalist or mutualism. Egalitarian has too much of a French Revolution sound to it. 😮 )”

    Arce said, “Equal in rights, equal in authority, equal in relationships, but not identical.”

    egalitarian = mutulalist = mutualism = equal rights = submit to eachother = there is no male or female

    complimentarian = wife/female submits = husband/male leads

    Yes Arce, I prefer a marriage where both spouses have equal rights. An equal rights marriage, yes, that’s the name I prefer. Not one person, submitting to the other, for no reason other than their gender. And the other spouse, for no reason other than their gender, is the leader. Does that sound right against the whole counsel of the Bible? Right based on what we know about and have heard from Jesus?

    Same arguments were made for slavery as well. With very Biblical Bible verses.

    For instance, a good Christian master will treat his slave well. Well, who can disagree with that, right? That will always be correct.

    In a good comp marriage, a good Christian husband will treat his wife well. I can’t argue with that either.

    I’m dead serious, is there anyone who can disagree with both of these statements? I seriously can not.

    So…. The real question is: Does that make the structure/relationship/hierarchy of slavery or comp marriage right?

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  23. I’m just trying to think what gender roles are supposedly imposed in the New Testament. According to a translation that is as much spin as actual translation, women are to submit to husbands (Eph 5:22); but we are all to submit to one another (Eph 5:21), so submission isn’t gender specific. Husbands are to love their wives (Eph 5:25), but Jesus commands us all to love one another (Jn 13:34). This one isn’t gender specific either. Wives are commanded (really, I think “admonished” is a better word) to respect their husbands (Eph 5:33); but husbands are to honor their wives (1 Pet 3:7). Sounds fairly reciprocal to me.

    Paul desires, but does not command, certain behaviors by both men and women, respectively. 1 Tim 2:8-11. He appears to prohibit women from teaching men or usurping authority over a man (singular), and he says that women should remain quiet. 1 Tim 2:12. Even here, though, the translation is contested. N. T. Wright’s Kingdom New Testament reads, “I’m not saying that women should teach men, or try to dictate to them; rather, that they should be left undisturbed.” There’s all that business about head coverings in 1 Cor 11:7, kind of like a man better not try wearing a hat in an American courtroom, and kind of like American judges are likely to require women to cover up if they show up in court with cleavage exposed down to their midriff.

    I expect I’m overlooking something, but that’s about the gist of New Testament instructions relating to Gender roles. Nevertheless, it seems it would be a lifetime study to master even a fraction of the gender roles pushed by the patriarchists and complementarians. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. Rule upon rule. Paul has been made the new Moses, and where Paul doesn’t speak, there is no end to the books that are written. So much for the Council of Jerusalem, where it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, and to the Holy Spirit to “lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.”

    To follow the patriarchists and complementarians is to be re-submitted to law, the very thing that Paul vehemently railed against in his letter to the Galatians. Fortunately, Jesus assured us that it would be Holy Spirit who would lead into all truth—not a motley rabble of self appointed prophets (and officious busybodies) masquerading as theologians and teachers.

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  24. Hi Lydia @ 8:16 you wrote:

    “Why are there no instructions about gender roles in Galatians to clarify gender roles in such a legalistic environment after hearing this?”

    That’s a good question. I would suggest that gender role was not an issue that Paul was addressing to the Galatians, as his main concern seems to be that they had been “bewitched” into returning to a legalistic approach to pleasing God, returning to the law-keeping instead of continuing on in a grace-centered life. It seems reasonable to me that the entire book would be organized to serve that one purpose–if it’s really the purpose, and as important as it sounds to Paul. I appreciate that you have found other biblical texts that support your assertion that this passage deals with gender roles, but honestly, I could find a number of texts that would refute your claims, and it could go on and on. We could end up playing “Bible Gotcha” for a long, long time!

    He Gary W @7:22pm you wrote:

    ” I almost could suppose that some of these people will one day find themselves arguing about the matter with Jesus Himself!”

    That’s very imaginative! Can’t imagine anyone arguing with such a King on that Day. However, if by way of application you find encouragement in that passage of how a healthy, blessed marriage is to be pursued–cool! Go for it! I think there’s room in the Kingdom for a variance of opinion on this one!

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  25. Ken,

    Thank you for your kind words, especially for extending grace to allow for variance of opinion. I have been marginalized in other places for expressing non-conforming opinions. Well, actually, in the instance I’m thinking of, I think it was the pastor who marginalized me who had the non-conforming opinion. I had suggested in a teaching that if a Christian has an unrecognized habit of harboring sinful judgments, it would be good to recognize and repent of (as in turn from) the sinful habit. What I did not know was that this particular preacher, contrary to anything found in the denomination’s official statement of faith, thought that being a Christian meant you were fully sanctified and without sin. Well, that was the end of my teaching privileges! Eh, church life can be full of hidden landmines–or at least that was the case before I just gave up on traditional church a couple of years ago.

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  26. lydiasellerofpurple-

    I echo a lot of what Ken has said in his further comments. In a nutshell, the issue that Paul was writing about to the Galatians had to do with their legalism, not gender roles. I don’t think the church at Galatia would have necessarily been confused by his using of male and female in 3:28, as it fits in context with the other two examples he gave (Jew/Gentile, slave/free). Similarly to the other two groups, women traditionally did not have the same rights as men. They couldn’t inherit, were often kept separate, etc, etc. Paul was trying to drive home the point that we all come to Christ equally by including these groups of opposites.

    Spiritually, we are all equal. We are all eligible for all of God’s gifts as he sees fit to give them. We are all sinners that need a Savior, and when saved, we are all heirs of the eternal life and relationship we have in Christ. I’m not sure what other inheritance you are trying to refer to when we are adopted into God’s family. Being adopted and becoming heirs would not necessarily change any general roles based on general differences between the sexes. Assuming even that there are no general roles, Galatians 3:28, as Ken said, would still not support this idea (nor would it condemn). That would be reading into the text what you want to be there.

    We certainly agree that there are biological/physical differences between the sexes. I don’t think anybody can logically dispute that. Other than biology, do you think that there are differences between the sexes (in general), or that there are no differences?

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  27. JoeJoe,

    You say that, “the issue that Paul was writing about to the Galatians had to do with their legalism, not gender roles.” Well, what I would suggest is that all the big emphasis on gender roles is just another form of legalism. We can apply Paul’s conclusions regarding to legalism at Galatia to the legalism that is inherent in “Christian” patriarchy and complementarianism.

    You point out that we are all heirs of eternal life. Too often we Christians think of eternal life as going to heaven where we live forever after the death of the body. This is essentially a form of Platonic dualism (plus, our ultimate destiny is the New Earth, not Heaven). The Greek word that gets translated “eternal” is actually just the word “age.” N. T. Wright suggests that “eternal life” would be better translated “the life of the age to come.” This life of the age to come begins now, and it is in the here and now that there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, master and slave, male and female.

    If I am wrong, though, I suspect we men are going to be in for a rude awakening. As I understand Genesis 1, each step of creation was more glorious than all that preceded. Woman was formed after man. Woman is more glorious than man. While man is the glory of God, woman is the glory of man. Man is merely the glory of God. Woman is the glory of the glory of God. Woman shall be first because the last shall be first. Woman will be made first, not only by reason of her place in the order of creation, but also by reason of the subservient role into which she has been thrust by her sinful male counterpart.

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  28. Gary,

    We do need to be a little careful with the term legalism (I can fall into this problem too, by the way). What Paul was addressing to the Galatians was an issue in which the Jews were essentially telling the Gentiles that if they wanted to be saved, they had to be circumcised. They were making following a particular legal code a requirement for salvation. Complementarianism doesn’t do that (and I would oppose any complementarian that said it is). Again, I don’t believe complementarianism as I’ve heard some people talk about it here is how marriage should necessarily be, but that is not the point here. The point here is that some egalitarians take this verse, as you just have, and are trying to apply it to something that Paul was not addressing at all, thus trying to make the verse say what you want it to say, not what it actually does say.

    I agree that eternal life begins now, when we have put our faith in Christ, and continues on into eternity. Again though, the verse speaking of no distinction between male and female is in regards to how we come into the eternal life, because that is exactly what Paul was addressing.

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  29. Oh, forgot to say also, Patriarchy should not be lumped with complementarianism. It contains elements of complementarianism, but in a distorted fashion to the point that it is barely recognizable. Patriarchy is abusive in its essence. Complentarianism isn’t necessarily so (though it is possible obviously for a complementary husband to become abuse, same with an egalitarian). I look at it this way. Complementarianism and egalitarianism are like Baptists and Methodists, or whatever mainline protestant denominations you prefer. Patriarchy is like Mormonism. It contains elements of the origianal, but is so far distorted that it can no longer truly be called Christian.

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  30. JoeJoe,

    Assuming for the sake of argument that you are correct in limiting the application of Paul’s “no male and female” principle, what do you think of my observation that the daughters of Eve are preeminent over the Sons of Adam in the Kingdom of God?

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  31. Gary W,
    What you just said at 6:54 made me cry. Not because I want women to be first or to receive glory, but that you acknowledge that women have suffered over time due to Biblical teaching on authority and submission. I cry for the women who have suffered, many in silence, and I cry over your words which bring reconciliation and healing.

    My thoughts:
    Inheritance: It is very important to the topic on this post. Inheritance has to do with someone being an heir, or child. Women are fully God’s children, not step-children, and are equal in the kingdom of God, right? Or are women only equal at a specific point in time, at salvation, as JoeJoe implies? And the rest of the time God considers them less than?

    I read my Bible most every night as part of our bedtime routine, in the expository method. We have read through Nehemiah, Proverbs, Jonah, etc. We go as slow as we want to, it’s based on our discussions. I believe children are not too young or old to hear and understand, and hide God’s truth away in their hearts.

    I pray every night as part of our bedtime routine. Children help adults look at the world anew, what a gift that is! Although a long-time Christian, I again thought, what is the right way to pray? The Bible, Jesus, tells us in Matthew 6, “the Lord’s prayer”. So we would pray the Lord’s prayer together first, and then our own prayers. After doing that many times, I started to think about “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is what I’m told by Jesus to pray & what I should want. What does that mean?

    I started to think, why would Jesus tell us to pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” if God is in complete control of everything? But that’s another topic.

    Well, I had been so used to being told we live for heaven, we look to that glorious day, that I had almost forgot God cares about what happens on earth, here and now. Yearning for and keeping life after death in mind is right. But not when it’s to the exclusion or dismissal of today. It has been an imbalanced teaching, IMO. And it seems this teaching seems to be pushed hard or is driven home in the midst of unjust suffering. Yes, our God will make all things right someday, yes definitely there will be no suffering then. But that doesn’t justify a hurtful institution/structure/relationship based on teaching that women must submit, they are less than. And that is only half of the Bible, not the whole counsel of the Bible. There are so many numerous passages that tell and teach us how to live today. God wants us to have an abundant life here, right now, on earth. Not “prosperity”, but that we work to love one another, help one another, and care for one another. And that we love ourselves.

    That’s how I understand God’s kingdom. God’s will for full inheritance and equality isn’t just his will when we get to heaven someday. God’s will for full inheritance and equality isn’t only that salvation is available to women also. God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done now.

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  32. A Mom,

    Your response moves me. I would have thought that my words would speak only to the mind. Though my own faith is walked out almost exclusively in the realm of the mind, I know that there are those here who are helping to carry your grief (if that is the right word) with deepest empathy.

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  33. The respect I’ve seen here shown to those on the “other” camp is quite remarkable. The comp/egal discussion can get very contentious. This is beautiful to see. Thank you.

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  34. I believe you are misunderstanding what I am saying, so I want to try to clear that up so I don’t end up villianized for an incorrect assumption of implication and because misunderstandings do nothing to help conversation. My implication is not that women are only equal at a point in time (at salvation). As I said, I affirm that eternal life, our inheritance, begins here and now, and that men and women are fully equal. I reject the idea that men have authority over women (husband over wife in terms of marriage) and don’t believe the Bible teaches this. Submission as most people view it I also see as unbiblical. Men and women (husbands and wives) are of equal value, importance, and authority, equal in their essense, equal in their stature before God, equal in how they come to Christ, equal in their need for Christ, and Christ died for them equally. I believe there are many verses that attest to one or more of these things in the Bible, whether implicitly or explicitly.

    Because men and women are equal though, does not mean that they are the same. Sameness and equalness are not the same thing. Men and women are, in general, different. They think differently, process ideas differently, express emotion differently, and communicate differently. There are always excepetions, but these differences are by and large universal. Like I said, I reject how most people see complementarianism, because most view it as a husband having authority over his wife. Authority is not the same as leadership, however, which does have, arguably, more biblical support. A belief in a husband having the responsibility of leadership does not promote men over women, or demote women under men. The greatest example of leadership is servanthood, shown perfectly by Jesus. The responsibility of this servanthood debateably falls to the husband, as most complimentarians argue.

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  35. I agree, sadly, that women have been opressed all through history, many of them due to perversion of Biblical ideas and scriptures. Men have opressed women for far too long as being less important. This simply is not how God sees us.

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  36. I’m sorry if I’m not being clear everywhere, I try to be, but I know I’m not always, and in some ways I still work through these things myself. I think a continued problem in discussions like this is that we still tend to see the issue as two sided, whereas I think the more Biblical way is somewhere between the two sides, neither extreme really being right.

    As to the idea of women being first that Gary brough up in relation to creation, I’m not sure if I see it exactly that way. Firstly, simply because Eve was created after Adam has nothing to do with it as Christ was not speaking in terms of chronology, but of perceived importance. Jesus was saying that he doesn’t want us to hold ourselves up as more important than we are, and not to lok to outward appearances and circumstances, but to the heart. If we look at history, as you, A Mom, and I have agreed, women have been opressed throughout civilization. I think we will indeed see more clearly just how equal they are, and they will (as they should right now) assume their rightful place as equal with men. If we say though that they are preeminent over men, are we not now creating another inequality where women are above men?

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  37. JoeJoe,

    Rest assured I have absolutely no intention of trying to villanize or criticize you. Whether or not we agree on anything (well, within reason) is of no matter insofar as how I view you as a person. If anything, the civility with which you engage me causes me to think the more highly of you. I appreciate how you challenge me to think through my own positions.

    I don’t have time right now to respond to the substance of previous post, but in case it is of any consequence, we appear to have reached largely the same conclusions. It seems maybe we just took different paths to the (mostly) same destination.

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  38. Gary, appreciate the words, and I don’t think either you or A Mom intend to villianize me, but I do know that when there is a misunderstanding due to a lack of clarity, if it is an area that is contentious (such as the equality of men and women), a misunderstanding can very easily lead to incorrect assumptions about the person, whether by the people within the conversation, or by others observing. I was merely trying to head that off. And I echo what you said. Being challenged in conversations like this I think can be a very good thing. It helps me to think through my own ideas and strengthen certain areas, while at the same times helps me to adjust in others.

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  39. JoeJoe,

    O.K., I really need to get back to my day job, but you say “are we not now creating another inequality where women are above men?” Yes, of course, but I am only aware of one passage that explicitly says there is no distinction between men and women, and you’re the one limiting the application of that passage to the question of salvation. I suppose I would concede that the “last being first” principle applies to men as well as women, but I strongly suspect that that means there will be way more women who are first than men.

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  40. “Spiritually, we are all equal. We are all eligible for all of God’s gifts as he sees fit to give them. We are all sinners that need a Savior, and when saved, we are all heirs of the eternal life and relationship we have in Christ. I’m not sure what other inheritance you are trying to refer to when we are adopted into God’s family. Being adopted and becoming heirs would not necessarily change any general roles based on general differences between the sexes. Assuming even that there are no general roles, Galatians 3:28, as Ken said, would still not support this idea (nor would it condemn). That would be reading into the text what you want to be there.”

    JoeJoe, I think the familiar “separate but equal” sort of slogan that was adapted for comp doctrine is so ingrained that it almost becomes impossible to build a bridge over it in some places. I have been quite joyful over more people questioning it in the last few years. The comps promote: Equal but different roles. But then we find out that the “roles” are not equal at all from their teaching. :o)

    It is a sort of bait and switch just as the coined term complementarian is a sort of Orwellian newsspeak that they wanted to communicate as a softer form of patriarchy. And they set up a perfect false dichotomy that if you disagreed with it you are a liberal who does not know the bible. (I am so glad that attitude is not here!)

    The inheritance is very important because it involves our spiritual gifts and how we function within the Body. It is the whole enchilada as they say. Within the Body there are no distinctions because there need not be any…IN CHRIST. When a woman stepped outside the Body in the 1st Century she was most likely someone’s property. But she was free to be filled with the Holy Spirit to minister to anyone, preach, teach, whatever the Holy Spirit led her to do in the Name of Christ. That is the inheritance that comes with salvation. The abundant life in Christ.

    “We certainly agree that there are biological/physical differences between the sexes. I don’t think anybody can logically dispute that. Other than biology, do you think that there are differences between the sexes (in general), or that there are no differences?”d

    JoeJoe, I think people individually are all different but can have similar characteristics. I know women who love sports and working on cars. I know men who love art and enjoy antiquing. I know women who are CPA’s and do the family finances while he likes to cook. I know women who have a knack for leadership and men who do not like it at all. I know of some dads who are more nurturing to the kids than the mom yet she is a great mom. I have friends that the wife is a policewoman and he is a chef. (She would confront the robber, btw, because she is trained to do so)

    I know women who are very tall and in shape who would have to carry a very small man out of a burning building. He certainly could not have carried her. And so on….

    So what “differences” do you see that are important between the sexes (not including biological ones) in the Body of Christ?

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  41. “You point out that we are all heirs of eternal life. Too often we Christians think of eternal life as going to heaven where we live forever after the death of the body. This is essentially a form of Platonic dualism (plus, our ultimate destiny is the New Earth, not Heaven). The Greek word that gets translated “eternal” is actually just the word “age.” N. T. Wright suggests that “eternal life” would be better translated “the life of the age to come.” This life of the age to come begins now, and it is in the here and now that there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, master and slave, male and female.”

    Yes! How Glorious! We are to BE and LIVE the kingdom now. What a blessing to read you today, Gary.

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  42. .
    Me-thinks – Comp and Egal – Are four letter words… 😉
    And – NOT in the Bible.

    Seems “Mere Fallible Humans” invented these words – and there definitions. 😦
    And have caused another distraction, another division.
    People looking at people – to follow – to learn from…
    And NOT looking to Jesus – To follow – To learn from…
    Jesus Himself said, He, Jesus, Is the “ONE” Teacher – The “ONE” Leader…
    Why isn’t what esus said – important?

    Could – Comp and Egal – be – Commandments of men? – Doctrines of men? – Philosophies of men? – “Traditions” that Make Void “the Word of God?” – That Jesus warned us about?

    Mark 7:13
    NLT – so you “cancel” the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition.
    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    Seems to me this gender issue only exists in the – 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious Corporation, the IRS calls church. It does NOT exist in Jesus, He is the head of the Body, The Church.

    Isn’t this gender issue about – Who gets the – Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Glory – Recognition – Reputation – that comes with the “Title/Position” – pastor/leader/reverend?

    A “Title/Position” none of His Disciples desired. Or had…

    Why does a Comp want this “Title/Position?”
    Why does an Egal want this “Title/Position?”

    Jesus humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    And took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    When you have this “Title/Position”
    You now have a reputation whether you want it or not.

    Why isn’t just “serving Jesus” good enough?
    Why isn’t Being His sheep – Hearing His Voice – and – Following Jesus good enough?

    If any man *serve me,* let him follow me;
    and where I am, there shall also *my servant be:*
    if any man *serve me,* him will my Father honour.
    John 12:26

    My Sheep – Hear My Voice, and I know them, and they Follow Me:
    John 10:27

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  43. “As I understand Genesis 1, each step of creation was more glorious than all that preceded. Woman was formed after man. Woman is more glorious than man. While man is the glory of God, woman is the glory of man. Man is merely the glory of God. Woman is the glory of the glory of God. Woman shall be first because the last shall be first. Woman will be made first, not only by reason of her place in the order of creation, but also by reason of the subservient role into which she has been thrust by her sinful male counterpart.”

    Another interesting and confusing aspect of all this in Gen 1 is we seen the Human (Adam) “created” male AND female. We also see “Adam” (Human) referred to as “them”. “Let them….”

    So the “human” was male and female. (I know, icky but that is how it reads but since it is also poetry we have to take that into consideration)

    Then we see the human interacting with God in various ways then God “forms” another person out of the entire side of the human. That is the way it reads.

    We have to rethink perhaps if Adam was only a male human at creation. The narrative does not read that way. The human was both male AND female and the forming came later into separate humans.

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  44. The Genesis Account is interesting and I found I had to go back and really study it to get rid of some of the filters I was taught.

    We know that both Adam and Eve sinned. The difference is that Eve admits she was deceived. Adam’s response was to blame God and Eve for his sin. Then we see that Eve sins again by turning to Adam (turning away from God) and because she does this “he will rule over you”. History proves this happened. There are still women wearing burkas and being stoned to death

    This chain of events and the responses of Adam and Eve do not match up with the teaching that God ordained men the leaders over women. It makes no sense and does not fit the attributes of God. If anything, the man showed himself to be less of a leader by blaming God and Eve. However, Eve blows it later, too, by choosing more of a relationship with Adam than with God.

    And to add insult to injury, many pastors teach that women are easily deceived and that is one reason God chose men to lead them.

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  45. It has been very interesting to read the ‘lessons’ of Genesis from different commenters. In the United Church of Canada (of which I am a member) we do not take the Bible literally – it’s all about interpretation. So the lesson that I’ve always heard is this – “Adam and Eve disobeyed God” – that’s it ! End of lesson. None of this “Eve tempted Adam”, blah, blah. . placing the blame squarely on the woman’s shoulders and exonerating Adam. For this I am thankful.

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  46. Great conversation!

    Seems much of the gender conflict arises out of misreadings of Scripture followed by their “perverse” applications—both in the comp and egal camps.

    JoeJoe states: I think the more Biblical way is somewhere between the two sides, neither extreme really being right.

    I agree.

    I also agree with JoeJoe’s placement of the abusive and unbiblical system of Patriarchy outside the christian sphere. I can’t think of any SSB regular who’s a proponent of this Perversity.

    For me, if the term “Complemetarianism” is not entirely disassociated from the term “Patriarchy” then I’m good with abandoning “Complementarianism” as a qualifier (representative of a legitimate Biblical position) altogether.

    I’m wondering if the hijacking of complementarianism by patriarchy hasn’t vitiated the concept entirely. Is comp still a good working term for the likes of me? I don’t know.

    For the moment I still want to retain the term for myself with the understanding that it represents two Biblical positions for the family and church summed up by these two verses.

    One—a prescription: “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3).

    Two—a proscription: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1 Tim 2:12a).

    In the family I see the Husband as the head of the wife.

    In the church I see a restriction of woman teaching or exercising authority over a man.

    I don’t believe we can add or subtract anything from these lines drawn in the Word of God without experiencing the very real consequences that come from dishonoring and disobeying God.

    The question for me is: What does it mean to be a Christian husband and head of a family? As pointed out above it means modeling what it’s like to submit to God and each other. As Christ gave Himself to his bride—so must I. And so forth. . .

    Same goes for the male elders of the church—they must model what it’s like to submit to the teachings of Scripture and also to others first, before they even qualify for service. And those who lead do so as humble servants.

    There’s a terrible misunderstanding of “authority” and “leadership” both in the church and in the family.

    Fwiw, (and I’m really crushed for time). . . Here are some thoughts inspired by an SSB conversation I had with Amos that undermines the false assumptions of authority within the church.

    Can gifted and qualified women be pastors and teachers within the church? In my reading, Yes, as long as they don’t teach or have authority over men. So the limit I see drawn in the Word of God is that women can not be elders or overseers within the church.

    Can they be presidents, and cops, and judges, and so forth? I see no biblical prohibition against it. Why not?

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  47. This seems a good time to share the fact that I am an Elder in the United Church of Canada, my sister-in-law is the Clerk of Session and we have a female (ordained) minister. The idea that a woman wouldn’t or couldn’t hold positions over men would be completely alien to a United Church adherent; as it should be to any denomination. There’s absolutely NO reason for a qualified person to be prohibited from any job they desire in the church. Period. Anyone who waves the Bible around as having that kind of authority should really put it back down – it’s ludicrous, outdated, and completely unacceptable.

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  48. For me our spiritual authority takes it’s shape from the teachings of Scripture.

    To reiterate what I believe is Ken and JoeJoe’s position regarding Gal. 3:28. .

    When we read—what in itself may be a rather ambiguous statement—that “there is neither male nor female” we should never understand it in a way that contradicts Scripture. The primary focus of the letter to the Galatians concerns the way of salvation. We are all saved and justified not by the works of the law but by our faith in Jesus Christ. Every single believer has an equal share in the benefits of our union with Christ regardless of our ethnicity, socio-economic standing, or gender.

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  49. Monax said: “In the church I see a restriction of woman teaching or exercising authority over a man.”

    How do you see man’s authority “over” a woman played out? How does this work exactly?

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  50. The first evangelist to the gentiles appears to have been a woman, though I’m not sure if she was the first evangelist overall. It seems to depend upon the timing of Jesus’ sending of the 12 and the 70 (or 72) in relation to His encounter with the woman at the well.

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  51. JA writes: Monax said: “In the church I see a restriction of woman teaching or exercising authority over a man.”

    How do you see man’s authority “over” a woman played out? How does this work exactly?

    My thoughts are still forming on this, but as I see it—it doesn’t work out. One’s spiritual authority should never be played “over” anyone in the church.

    Only Christ has authority “over” his bride. And the spiritual authority we saints possess is not over or against our brethren, but against spiritual serpents and scorpions, over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

    The word “authority” in 1 Tim. 12 is academically termed a hapax legomenon, meaning that it only once occurs, here, in the whole context of Scripture.

    Good question.

    GarWy, thanks for the NTW link. I’ll at least save it now for later consideration. =]

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  52. JoeJoe, I don’t believe you to be a villain. I just take issue with the idea that men are preordained leaders and women are preordained submitters in marriage. I have friends who see it the same way you do. I love them & they are dear to me.

    The idea bothers me. Men can also be hurt by this preordained marriage structure.

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  53. monax: hapax legomenon? Whoa. Don’t recall ever having heard of that before. Now you’ve distracted me! Among other related tidbits I find that: “The Greek New Testament contains 686 local hapax legomena, which are sometimes called ‘New Testament hapaxes’, of which 62 occur in 1 Peter and 54 occur in 2 Peter,” and “Honorificabilitudinitatibus is a hapax legomenon of Shakespeare’s works.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapax_legomenon#Greek_examples

    Scary thing is, I find this stuff really interesting.

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  54. Off hand and thinking out loud, let me share with SSB where I am with this idea of spiritual authority.

    First, What does it mean to possess authority?

    Loosely, one with authority has the power to persuade others toward certain ends.

    According to the Online Etymological Dictionary from the late 14c authority means “power to enforce obedience.”

    In the governmental spheres, for instance, we have all sorts of authorities wielding various means and measures of compliance, or what Anthony Giddens calls “the threat of violence,” i.e., control of the police and military. These worldly authorities are usually empowered and constrained by the laws of the land.

    Spiritual authority, however, comes into being and operates under a different law. I’m convinced of this—to the degree that we are trusting and obeying God, to the measure of our holiness and submission to Him, this will determine the degree of power we have to move others to submit to the authority of Christ (cf, 2 Cor. 10:3-6).

    This will be measure of our spiritual authority—our Christlikeness.

    You want to see real spiritual authority! Don’t look to the Bishop of Babylon. Look to the child who knows her God, who trusts and obeys the Spirit, and is empowered through her life of holiness “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” [words of the LORD to the prophet Jeremiah (1:10)].

    Who are the spiritual leaders among us? Let us recognize them for their obedience to the Word of God, for their humility, gentleness, wisdom, and self-sacrificing ways, for their submission to God and to others, and for their being gifts of God to the Body. These are the ones we elect to stand before us, the ones we entrust pastoral stewardship to. These are the teachers we set before us, whose authority we do well to honor and yield to.

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  55. 2000 vs. 686 hapax legomena? That’s quite a discrepancy. Not that I’ll be able to run it to ground, but I’m wondering how you’re counting. If, say, there is some Greek noun that appears once in the NT in nominative form and once again in dative form, are you counting that as two hapax legomena, or would that be a single dis legomenon?

    Back to the real topic, though, I like your ideas regarding the different types of authority. I still suspect that the standard translation and interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:12 has been mangled by men with agendas, but if the supposed prohibition of women exercising authority over a man (singular) leaves open the possibility of women exercising non-coercive authority, that helps some.

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  56. “Two—a proscription: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1 Tim 2:12a).”

    There are some problems with that. First of all it is written in singular form. A woman, A man. Most likely a husband and wife. In 1 Tim 1 we see Paul talking about situations and he talks about those who are deceived and those who deceive others on purpose. He mentions Al and Hy as examples of those who deceive on purpose. He does not name names of those who are deceived. This is how 1 Timothy starts out. Dealing with situations.

    Authenteo is only used here in the NT. And it does not mean “exercise authority”. It is a very obscure word that denotes a sort of sinister compelling. We can get the context from what Paul describes next as in she must be quiet because she needs to learn before she teaches. The rest fits in with the Cult of Artemis fertility temple which was a wonder of the world back then and smack dab in the middle of Ephesus……the Temple cult taught that Eve was created before Adam. (Dying in childbirth was a real fear then). Paul is saying that women are “saved” in THE childbearing….a play on words as a reference to Messiah that Timothy would have gotten.

    In some older translations authenteo is translated as “domineer” which comes much closer.

    So “A” woman was teaching “A” man. Check it out in the interlinear, makes more sense then do some major research on the use of Authenteo in secular Koine Greek.

    Timothy would know exactly who Paul was referring to. The woman “gunaiki”refers to a wife which fits with word for man can also be same for husband (aner). then later Paul refers to them as “they” which is both husband and wife.

    John Chrysostom in his Homily 10 tells men they should not “autheteo” their wives. So we know it is a bad thing that men can also do to women.

    Another thing to consider is that if the Holy Spirit wanted to clearly communicate “authority over” that word would not have been used. There are very clear Greek words for authority.

    Just some things to consider before you “proscribe” this to all women everywhere concerning teaching men. Paul is saying that ONE woman cannot teach. But he also says, ‘let her learn”. He wants her to become learned.

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  57. Even KJV renders 1 Tim 2:12 as not allowing a woman to “usurp” authority over a man, which is a far cry from completely prohibiting the exercise of authority over men. Don’t know if it has already been pointed out, but ASV 19 says a woman is not to have “dominion” over a man. Again, not at all the same as a prohibition against the exercise of any authority whatsoever.

    But I may be painting myself into something of a corner if I’m not careful. My view is that relationships between Christians are NEVER to be based on the kind of authority that permits one person to command another. This means that women are not, in fact, to exercise authority over men, but it also means men are not to exercise authority over women. Rather, Christian relationships are always and only to be based on agape love.

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  58. I also need to clarify:

    It’s not what Gary W said about women being first that got to me. I don’t know, we’ll find out. That’s not what I found important.

    What struck a cord was that what he said provided an insight into Gary W’s character and I watched his belief converted into a substance of sorts. It was an indication that he himself doesn’t find leadership over someone else necessary for himself & is willing to be second. I believe I saw Christ in action. I believe we are to serve each other, just like that. IMO, Jesus commanded all believers, regardless of their gender, status, financial means, age, race, etc. to defer to others in love. And that action results in equality & harmony. God’s desire for His kingdom to come, right now, here on earth.

    Of course no one is to defer to evil or abuse, ever.

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  59. Gary W, we must have been typing at the same time just now. LOL

    Gary W just said, “Rather, Christian relationships are always and only to be based on agape love.” Exactly. 🙂

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  60. This article from Wartburg Watch comments about a video from DG. The video is about Larissa, who says her husband, Ian, who tragically experienced severe damage to his brain in a car accident, is her spiritual leader. I in no way put Ian or Larissa down, I feel for & give thanks for them both. I admire her devotion.

    I’ve read in a comment on an earlier post here that Piper claims to have coined the word “complementarian”. He then co-wrote a whopping 576 page book (instruction manual?) with Grudem called “Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood”, I guess so we would know what Comp is exactly and how to practice it correctly.

    Anyway, let’s take the word Comp out of the discussion.

    My question is: Is it possible when the man is unable, for the man to still be “the leader” and for a woman to “submit”? If not, are they in sin or living something less than God’s plan?

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/06/15/ian-and-larissa-a-complicated-story-of-love-spiritual-authority-and-agendas/

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  61. I love seeing so many people digging into the Greek. Our English translations are excellent in places, far off the mark in other, and seemingly deceptive in still others. It takes quite a bit more work to be a Berean in the 21st century!

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  62. A Mom,

    Thank you for your compliments at 4:17, but I should probably warn you against forming an idealized view of me. Talking the talk, seeing and articulating what is good and true and even beautiful, is the easy part. Living it all out in real life is quite another matter. I will not admit to being a hypocrite, but you can be sure that there are those who would accuse me of it. And please, don’t give me some sort of credit for saying these things. Even what may appear humble can often be better explained by selfish motives. Who knows, maybe there is something unrecognized in me that wants credit for being humble!

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  63. And if you think Ian & Larissa are in the minority, then what about the many vets who have been gone for long periods of time, who have returned or are returning from war. From multiple tours even? What about these men? What about their wives?

    These families have sacrificed much for their country.

    Some of these courageous men have PSTD, traumatic brain injury, are dealing with multiple health issues, & some may look fine on the outside but are not on the inside. They may struggle with nightmares, triggers, guilt, fear, anger, depression, etc.

    Many wives are faithful to & dearly miss their husbands, birth their children & raise them in the ways of the Lord, run the household, and maybe work. They live much like a single Mom does.

    These couples are told God wants the man to lead and the wife to submit. What if the man is not able to lead due to the very real problems brought on by the effects of war & combat? Do we put an additional burden on him that may make him feel even less like a man? Do we tell him he is not pleasing God or living up to his responsibility as leader? He may be having trouble adjusting to “normalcy” already. Do we minimize how the wife has cared for their family during this time? Do we tell her that her marriage is less than God’s design because she may need to continue this for a while longer or for the rest of her marriage? Please tell me how this begins to make sense. May God help us and have mercy on us.

    I guarantee you, there are couples like this in many churches. And this is the model they are told they need to live up to according to God’s word. And guilt & burden are piled high on them.

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  64. Lydia, referring to your comment at 3:33, I would think that you are correct as to the translation of the verse in question. I pulled out my handy Latin Vulgate and looked up 1 Timothy 2:12. The verb in question in Latin is “dominari”, the present passive infinitive of “dominare”, meaning to be master/despot/in control, rule over, exercise sovereignty, rule/dominate. The definition is taken from the William Whitaker dictionary. Like I have said in the past, I do not know Greek but I do know that the translation from Greek into Latin is much more accurate than English. The word dominare was more often used in reference to dictators than in every day relationships.

    For whatever it is worth, my department head often advised students who were planning to go to divinity school NOT to take New Testament Greek as an undergraduate. He said that once they started reading the Bible in the original language they would be forced to re-evaluate their faith. It would be better for them to study New Testament Greek from the viewpoint of their own denominations.

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  65. “I’ve read in a comment on an earlier post here that Piper claims to have coined the word “complementarian”.

    I have heard many people state that comp is the middle view and probably closer than the others. The problem is, comp is a MADE up view.

    I really wish people would go read the Danvers Statement that started all of this and a huge industry was born of it. The proof texting used to prop up the presuppositions in the Danvers statement is quite telling. If you go read the signatories you will see that many of them today are Patriarchal! Paige Patterson is one of them, for example, and advises women who are being beaten up to go home and pray over him while he is sleeping! Piper is ridiculously patriarchal. Grudem. The list is long. Check it out. It comes up on google.

    The SBC even changed it’s BFM to include presuppositions from the Danvers statement! I mean this thing took evangelicalism by storm and few really sat down and analyzed the presuppositions. I don’t think it would have lasted long had there been an internet.

    RK McGregor Wright, wrote a great response to the statement driving mac truck sized holes through it’s presuppositions biblically. I wish I could find it online but it was written before the internet.

    The point is, 30 years after that statement made a splash many of the signatories teach patriarchy as comp. Piper and TGC are now promoting Doug Wilson. That is how bad it has gotten. It was patriarchy all along just with a nicer name and now it is systematized.

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  66. Mandy, Thanks for pointing that out. Interesting about the Greek to Latin. I had never thought of that. I got to the point I hardly trusted lexicons after reading Bushnell. She pointed out so many errors. Problem is the real language scholars are rarely quoted. Theologians do not always make great scholars, perhaps?

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  67. Diane, You are incredible. This is the second time you have found something I have mentioned that I did not think was easily accessible. Yes, that is it.

    Thank you so much!. I am saving it now.

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  68. Monax,

    On 7/26 @ 12:12 you take the position that we must understand Gal 3:28, “there is neither [actually “no”] male nor [actually “and”] female,” in a manner such that Scripture does not contradict itself. However, it seems to me that on 7/26 @ 11:59 you present 1 Cor 11:3, relating to headship, and 1 Tim 2:12, relating to women teaching and (supposedly) having authority over a man, as having meanings and applications that contradict Gal 3:28. The assumption seems to be that our understanding of the plain statement of Gal 3:28 must be conformed to certain contested understandings of the not so plain statements of 1 Cor 11:3 and 1 Tim 2:12.

    I say that the 3:28 statement has a plain meaning inasmuch as only the application appears to be contested. I say that 1 Cor 11:3 is not so plain because there is significant debate over what is meant by “head,” and it is not always clear whose head is be referenced (c.f., e.g. NT Wright’s Kingdom New Testament translation of 1 Cor 11 :3-4a: But I want you to know this: that the Messiah is the “head” of every man, and the husband is the”head” of every wife, and God is the “head” of the Messiah. Every man who prays or prophesies while wearing something on his head brings shame on his “head”; and every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered brings shame on her “head.”)

    I say that the meaning of 1 Tim 2:12 is not so plain because both the application and the translation are contested. As to application, there is at least an issue as to whether the instruction and supposed proscription applies to any given man, or only to a woman’s husband. There is uncertainty as to what specific circumstance Paul’s instruction was directed. I need not here reiterate the uncertainty surrounding the contested translation of the word that is now often, though not always previously, rendered “authority.”

    As I sit writing this, I am content to accept that a husband is “head” of his wife (though not of women, generally, either in the Church or in civil society) as Jesus is “head” of the church, but I see this as requiring the husband to subordinate his interests to those of his wife, just as Jesus gave himself up for the Church.

    As to the 1 Tim 2:11 passage, the uncertainties are just too great to give it a dominant and controlling position. We can insist that Gal 3:28 be understood in a manner that is consistent with the understanding of 1 Tim 2:11 reached by SOME (in my view, bought and paid for) theologians, or we can insist that 1 Tim 2:11 be understood, applied and, most importantly, TRANSLATED in a manner that is consistent with the (supposedly) limited-in-application, but written-without-limitation principle that “there is no man and woman, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    With apologies for already being overlong (again), I will close with NT Wright’s translation of 1 Tim 2:11-12: They [women] must study undisturbed, in full submission to God. I’m not saying that women should teach men, or try to dictate to them; rather, that they should be left undisturbed.” If Wright is right, the whole point of the passage is that neither man nor woman is to dominate nor presume to impose upon the other as each pursues our Lord and God. This view, at least, does not contradict the statement that “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ,” however broadly applied.

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  69. I haven’t read through all the comments but to me the article itself highlights the difficulties in comparing the polygamous marriages of the Old Testament to the monogamous marriages we have today in the U.S.A.

    Monogamous marriages have their challenges but generally speaking married women aren’t jockeying for the positions of their male children in the family hierarchy to the degree they were in Biblical times.

    I think that competing with other women for the status of “First Wife” in a polygamous arrangement is likely so different from the pressures women in monogamous marriages face that Old Testament marriages have little to teach us about marriages today and we should view them primarily as narratives, rather than instructional stories.

    I know that’s a provocative statement..

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  70. Janna, that’s the most sensible comment I’ve read this whole thread! I agree with the statement that the Old Testament marriages have little to teach us about marriage today. . . bang on! I mean really, we should be taking advice in the 21st century from a book that was written in the 1st century?? Give your heads a shake!! Just more reasons why I refer to it as my Least Favourite Fiction text. Bet that’ll be provocative. .

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  71. Gary W – monax – ALL – “WE”

    I also have a challenge seeing Gal 3:28, as only speaking of salvation.
    Lately I’ve been more focused on – Gal 3:28 …ye are ALL “ONE” in Christ Jesus.

    Hmmm? ALL “ONE?” – Wouldn’t that be nice? If – “WE,” – The Body of Christ, His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Church, Saw, Believed, understood “WE” – as – “ONE?” 🙂

    Where I’m living now in “The Body of Christ,” – mostly small groups – NOT part of “Todays Abusive Religious System.” Some twos and three’s, one group of three men, monthly, for over 12 years, sometimes it grows to 4-5-6, men and women. We meet mostly in restaurants and will be together 4-5 hours. Time flies and we call it eterna-time.

    One group I’ve recently left, of 10 to 15, men and women, still meets weekly in someones home, for over 8 years. NO “Titles.” NO “Teachers.” NO “Leaders.” Just brethren coming together. Hopefully like Jesus taught His Disciples in Mat 23:8-12.

    Where I’m living now in “The body of Christ,” – This gender issue – “Comp or Egal”- Does NOT exist. Roles do not exist. Hierarchy does not exist. As His Disciples – His sheep – His sons – His church – “WE” do NOT exercise, or assume authority over another of His Disciples. Mark 10:42. Jesus is the “ONE” Teacher. Jesus is the “ONE” Leader. And – All are responsible to hear, and learn, from Jesus for themselves. All are responsible to Hear His Voice and Follow Jesus.

    And yes – “WE” do disagree, argue, and fight over different beliefs and interpretations of scripture. And “WE” can still remain friends. “WE” have ALL been wrong before, ALL have been deceived, ALL have changed their positions, and realize “WE” have much to learn in Jesus. No one feels responsible to have to know it all. Or be in charge. “WE” desire to be “Led” by the Spirit.

    In Christ we are “ONE.” “His Church” is “ONE Body” – “ONE new man.”
    Keeping to “The Traditions of men” is not the point.

    Where I live in “The Body of Christ” it’s NOT about…
    Who is the pastor – Who is the leader.

    It is about – Who knows Jesus? Who is Hearing “His Voice?” Who has a living Christ within? Who has the Spirit of God dwelling in them? Who has been taught by God? Who has a revelation from God? Who is exhibiting “the Fruit of the Spirit?” Who is moving in the “Gifts of the Spirit?” Male or Female. Young or Old. Gender is NOT the issue.

    This is what’s important.
    ALL can “hear from God.” – ALL can, and are expected to participate.
    Like on this blog. ALL can teach. ALL can give their revelation. ALL can edify.

    1Cor 14:26
    How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, **every one of you** hath a psalm, **hath a doctrine,** hath a tongue, **hath a revelation,** hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

    It’s NOT about “Who” does the teaching, But…
    “Who” has a revelation from God, a teaching, “male or female.” – “young or old”

    It’s about recognizing and discerning the Spirit that dwells within the person.
    The Spirit of God? Or, the Spirit of the world? Or, ….

    1Cor 2:12
    Now we have received, not **the spirit of the world,** but the spirit which is of God;
    that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

    1Cor 3:16
    Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

    When it’s the same “Spirit of God” dwelling in male and female – does gender matter?
    When it’s the same “Spirit of God” dwelling in young and old – does age matter?

    In, Jesus, He is the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out ones) “the Church.”

    We are ALL ”ONE” Body. We are ALL “ONE” in Christ.

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  72. GW and Lydia, I read your comments as they came in; spent the weekend considering them; was hoping to respond to you today but have run out of available time. My day tomorrow should be a bit freer. I truly appreciate your challenges. Thank you, sincerely.

    Gary, which state or time zone are you in? Also, am I remembering correctly that you possess a working knowledge of the Greek?

    David, from Pittsburgh

    {{{ p.s. thank you, Amos, for your last comment. . i’m hoping you might be free this weekend for another wonderful phone conversation. . }}}

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  73. speaking of amazing men. . Dallas is coming over now with some Leffe Bruin (Belgian beer) and some Pizza. . we’re gonna, at some point this late afternoon / early evening begin a reading and discussion of the book of Hebrews.

    i can’t think of any better way to spend my time and energies!

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  74. David,

    As to Greek, I think you could say I have a working knowledge. I have to work real hard at doing actual translation, although the availability of some basic online lexical aids really helps. I should be able to understand your analysis. I’ll know what you’re talking about if you throw a second person pluperfect middle subjunctive at me, but don’t expect me to recognize one without access to an analytical lexicon.

    I hereby give JA permission to tell you my timezone. I hereby confess I’m being obsessive about whatever anonymity I might have, but if anybody were to be able to identify me, it would also make it easier to identify some of the people I have mentioned (though not by name) from time to time.

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  75. David,

    But be prepared to be frustrated with me. I recall lydiasellerof purple having mentioned she doesn’t trust the lexicons. I recall having had the same thought enter my mind when we were having a short discussion on the topic of ecclesiastical authority over at your blog some months ago. If the translators are susceptible to being influenced by their theological traditions, why not the lexicographers? I would frankly be more inclined to accept the work of a secular lexicographer whose work is not limited to holy writ. There may be secular lexicons that list how particular Greek words have been used throughout the entire available koine corpus, but if so, I don’t have one, and probably couldn’t afford it anyway.

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  76. Hi Janna 7?29 4:45. My purpose in writing regarding the ancient patriarchal systems was not to suggest that it meant to serve as present instruction for us (although I’ve personally found it to astounding in its relevance to marriage today!), but to simply point out that what we are calling “patriarchy” today is a different animal that what we find in actual, biblical, patriarchal marriages. So, whereas the words “complementarian” and “egalitarian” have been invented to describe particular views of marriage, “patriarchy” is a word that has been, by in large, high-jacked from its original meaning and practice. Out or curiosity, let me ask you this: What core marriage issues do you identify in our contemporary culture that you do not think existed in past ages? I’m not sure people, and thus marriage, has changed so much in the past 4,000 years!

    Hi Carmen 7/29 @5:26 you wrote, “Janna, that’s the most sensible comment I’ve read this whole thread! I agree with the statement that the Old Testament marriages have little to teach us about marriage today.” Given that conclusion, how would you evaluate the fact that Jesus referred to the first marriage (thousands of years prior, and in a very different context and culture) when He taught His disciples on marriage? Do you feel that He shared your view of the OT as being fictitious? It doesn’t seem as if He did, given the things He said about it!

    For Carmen and Janna,
    It is interesting, however, to consider that the NT authors (a bit closer to our time!) chose to use such OT marriages (ie, Rom 4, Gal 3, Heb 11, 1 Pet 5, etc.), as teaching examples for their readers, who were just as separated, chronologically, from the patriarchs as we are today! Do you think they were playing fair to expect their readers to believe that these accounts were actually historical and literal, or did they allow for their readers to assume the OT accounts are largely “Fiction Texts” as you’ve referred to them? Do you find any justification for taking texts that the NT writers used as instructional, and re-labeling them as (mere) narrative?

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  77. Hello Ken, I honestly meant what I said about referring to the Bible as my “Least Favourite Fiction”. To illustrate why, one needs only to read several of these topics to see how each person differently interprets text. For that reason, plus the fact that translations don’t always jive, how can anything that’s written in it be relevant to today’s world? I firmly believe that it was written in a specific time period in history, by certain men, for men, and to try and make sense of the world as they knew it THEN. I have the impression that you are an ordained minister, so for that reason I’m sure you don’t agree with my dismissal (and will be able to point out the Bible’s merits in glowing terms) but, as a non-believer, (and it’s taken me awhile to get to this place, with much research and soul-searching) I have reached the conclusion that its importance is MUCH overblown. Even to the point of being destructive – just look at all those fanatics who wave it around as a ‘get of Hell free’ ticket or ‘here’s why you can’t do that’ flag. For these reasons, its credibility is in question. Keep in mind that I have no wish to insult anyone on this Blog who obviously use it as their moral guide. . .this is my opinion, which is based on reason, logic, credible information, and intelligent application of same.

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  78. “But be prepared to be frustrated with me. I recall lydiasellerof purple having mentioned she doesn’t trust the lexicons. I recall having had the same thought enter my mind when we were having a short discussion on the topic of ecclesiastical authority over at your blog some months ago. If the translators are susceptible to being influenced by their theological traditions, why not the lexicographers? I would frankly be more inclined to accept the work of a secular lexicographer whose work is not limited to holy writ”

    This is pretty much my view. Ironically, I came to it reading translator blogs and the constant debate over Lexicon definitions! I really think we have done ourselves a disservice to ignore or even not to seek secular ancient language experts. This is one thing Bushnell did and it really explained a lot of bad translations. One of them being the prejudiced translation of Isaiah 3:12. The Septuagint translates: “As for my people, tax-gatherers (praktores) glean them, and exactors (apaitountes) rule over them.”

    Two words, without the rabbinical vowel “points,” are exactly alike. One is pronounced nosh-im and the other na-shim. In appearance the only difference is a slight mark under the first letter of the Hebrew word na-shim. The first word means “exactors;” the one with a vowel mark under the initial letter means “women.”

    How did Bushnell come to this understanding? A ancient language scholar. Not a Lexicon written by Theologians.

    The translation of “tax gatherers” makes more sense in context because of Deborah, etc. God does not punish a nation for women leaders. Sheesh!

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  79. Julie Anne, you need to know that I happen to think that the distinction of ‘Christian’ is not as important to me as the one of ‘genuinely good people’ – which, I have noted, is the category to which I’d assign everyone on here. .. I appreciate the honest, respectful discourse from people who are much the same as me. I get the impression that all on here are trying to make sense of life’s trials and joys using whatever means available – including each others’ opinions. Although I have never thought of myself as a Christian (and – believe me, there are Christians who have caused me to raise my eyebrows !), I have tried to do my best to follow my own moral code which includes church attendance, membership, and committee work.
    I think forums such as yours are important – all of us need to realize that no matter what the denomination (or if any at all) our efforts need to be concentrated on making the world a better place for everyone.
    For me, religious intolerance is an oxymoron.

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  80. “Do you find any justification for taking texts that the NT writers used as instructional, and re-labeling them as (mere) narrative?”

    One of the things that I have found interesting is that some quoting of OT scripture in the NT has been changed by the speaker….on purpose! Peter does it at Pentecost when quoting Joel. Paul also does it a lot. I used to have a list of examples but cannot find it right now…

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  81. “It is interesting, however, to consider that the NT authors (a bit closer to our time!) chose to use such OT marriages (ie, Rom 4, Gal 3, Heb 11, 1 Pet 5, etc.), as teaching examples for their readers, who were just as separated, chronologically, from the patriarchs as we are today! Do you think they were playing fair to expect their readers to believe that these accounts were actually historical and literal, or did they allow for their readers to assume the OT accounts are largely “Fiction Texts” as you’ve referred to them?”

    I do think the NT “hearer”/listener had a much better understanding of metaphorical language, idioms, etc, that we do because it was a big part of how they communicated. We tend to be much more literal in application. A sort of “letter” of the law instead of the spirit intended in communication.

    We constantly see this as a problem in Eph 5 especially.

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  82. Hi Carmen! I’m very sorry, I replied to your blog reply in the assumption that you claim to be a believer in Jesus, as you wrote earlier that you are a member of the United Church of Canada. I am a pastor in the US (Portland), and am not familiar with the church in Canada, so won’t presume to make a guess on their beliefs or membership expectations. I suppose it is a very significant issue for many whether or not there exists a definitive truth-source that everyone can, with a good conscience, subscribe and appeal to. Mine is the Bible, as I best understand it, which often seems a limited understanding. Thanks for responding!
    Blessings, Ken

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  83. Hi Ken, I thought I had explained in an earlier post, but you are correct – I am a member in the UCC (I’m also a teacher) but, as you can see, I have come to a place in my life (as I mentioned above) where I no longer believe much past, “Jesus was a real man who walked the earth, he was a kind man (and perhaps an apocalyptic prophet) and we should be more like Him”. Other than that, I have basically rejected that the Bible is an inspirational text and that it should be used as a moral guide for all people. I was ‘brought up’ in the Baptist church, converted to the United Church when I got married, and believed that I should do the same for our four children – I considered it part of the responsibility of educating them. They are now ages 30 – 36, all university educated. They are all ‘Nones’ – two of them have atheist husbands. I am very aware that believers are on the same journey as I am – trying to make sense of things we cannot understand and trying to do the best we can to contribute positively to this world of ours. I’m just not sure, anymore, that the Bible is helping me to understand anything at all. Please don’t take offence – none is meant – I just like to be honest in my presentation. Although I do not ‘know’ the Bible, I know the inherent goodness of people (although no one is exempt from making mistakes – we are human!) and I believe that to be the greater truth; even an inspiration.

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  84. Hey Carmen! Thank you for clarifying. I appreciate you taking the time to have read my writing, and to reply with honesty and candor!

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  85. Carmen, I try to make it up to Freeport every few years. 🙂 Acadia National Park is beautiful. I’ve never been to Nova Scotia, though. I’ve always wanted to visit PEI aslo, I’ve been a huge Anne of Green Gables fan since I was a little girl.

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  86. @ Lydia s/purple
    You make many good statements and give some clear insights into the various corners of this topic. You have certainly done your homework. I appreciate your taking the time to provide numerous thoughtful explanations. You Go Girl!

    One question, in this sentence, do you mean: ‘pericope’? (Pronounced: pe’rikepi.) Meaning: “an extract from a book, especially a passage from the Bible.”

    “Sounds like a full heir who is to be the co ruler of the home when we take the entire periscope into consideration.” I think you may mean ‘entire pericope’.

    Agreed: “The comps promote: Equal but different roles. But then we find out that the “roles” are NOT EQUAL at all from their teaching.” Precisely!!

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  87. @ Gary W

    What you say makes sense and resonates with me. This is a huge topic and certainly requires diligence in order to peel back so many of the standard ways of thinking about it. Keep up the thoughtful dialog!

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  88. .
    monax

    Thanks for the nice compliment.

    Although I think I have too much white hair to be considered a “dude.” 😉
    And “awesome” might be a little much considering “awe” means “reverential respect.” And “awesome” means “inspiring great admiration.”

    If you would really like to know how “awesome” Amos is – I’ll put you in touch with my ex-wife. I’m sure she would love to tell you just how “awesome” Amos is. 🙂

    How about we leave the “awesome” designation,
    “reverential respect” and “inspiring great admiration.”
    for {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Seems most do NOT start out wanting to steal the Glory that belongs only to Jesus.
    They just do NOT refuse it when it comes.

    Other then “awesome” and “dude,” it was a nice compliment. 😉
    And I look forward to having “another wonderful phone conversation”

    I’m thinking, Jesus, as man, showed “WE” the way in John 5:41-44
    41 – I receive NOT honour from men…
    44 – …How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another,
    and seek NOT the honour that cometh from God only?

    The Amplified version has John 5:41, as…
    I receive not glory from men [I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame]

    A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
    Pro 29:5

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  89. .
    And monax

    Here is “ONE” thing to think about between now and the phone conversation. – “ONE”

    As I said, I’ve been more focused on …ye are ALL “ONE” in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28.
    …..neither Jew nor Greek – neither bond nor free – neither male nor female

    And thinking – Maybe this “ONE” is about MORE then Equality or Salvation?
    Maybe, ALL “ONE” – “in Christ Jesus” – is about a “NEW Creation?”
    Where – “In Christ” – male and female – Do NOT Exist?

    2 Cor 5:17
    Therefore if any man be “in Christ,” he is a “NEW” *creature: (*creation.)
    old things are passed away; behold, ALL things are become “NEW.”

    Because, as His Disciples, “WE” – “Forsake ALL” – “Deny SELF” – And are willing to “Lose our Life.” His Disciples become “a “NEW Creation.” And in that process His Disciples are willing to Forsake ALL, Deny SELF, Lose their carnal, human Life, “Identity” – Male – Female – to be – “ALL “ONE” in Christ Jesus.

    John the baptist said – Jesus, He must increase, but “I” must decrease. John 3:30
    Paul the apostle said – … I live; yet NOT I, but Christ liveth in me: Gal 2:20

    And – as in marriage – It is NO longer TWO – But – “ONE” flesh. And…
    Christ and His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones are NO longer TWO – But – “ONE” flesh.

    Is this “ONE” also in in John 17:21? – That they ALL may be “ONE”…
    …..neither Jew nor Greek – neither bond nor free – neither male nor female
    …..neither Comp nor Egal – neither SBC nor PCA – neither Clergy nor Laity
    …..neither Evangelical nor Pentecostal – neither Calvinism nor Arminianism

    Is this “ONE” also in Rom 12:5? So we, being many, are “ONE” body *in Christ,*
    …..neither Jew nor Greek – neither bond nor free – neither male nor female
    …..neither Comp nor Egal – neither SBC nor PCA – neither Clergy nor Laity
    …..neither Evangelical nor Pentecostal – neither Calvinism nor Arminianism

    Is this “ONE” also in Eph 2:15? to make in himself of twain (Two) – “ONE” NEW man.
    …..neither Jew nor Greek – neither bond nor free – neither male nor female
    …..neither Comp nor Egal – neither SBC nor PCA – neither Clergy nor Laity
    …..neither Evangelical nor Pentecostal – neither Calvinism nor Arminianism

    Is this “ONE” also in Gen 2:24
    … a man… shall cleave unto his wife and *they shall be “ONE” flesh.

    If “WE” see, designate, – male and female – as Equal?
    Don’t “WE” still see, acknowledge, – male and female – as TWO?

    And – NOT “ONE?”

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  90. GW,

    fwiw, that 686 hapax legemona number as replicated across the internet via wikipedia has a suspect source. Plus this was likely a number derived at before the advent of computer software programs that now facilitate more thorough and accurate searches.

    Even today I believe there has only been a handful of men who have made such a significant search. Prior to the advent of our modern computer these would have been the biblical scholars who built our concordances and lexicons. The near 2000 hapax legomena number comes from Henry Scott Baldwin, a present day seminary “professor of New Testament literature and language at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Amsterdam, Netherlands.”

    Everyone,

    I just finished editing a response I’ve been working on for the last few days. I’m gonna go relax for a bit now before I reread and publish it here for your consideration. It is quite lengthy, so I apologize for this. I’ve broken it up into the space of two comments. I understand it won’t be for everyone, so I ask for your grace.

    Shalom,
    David

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  91. SSB,

    let me start out by underscoring our common foundation—what I believe to be the enormous solid ground we who have placed our faith in Christ Jesus share: that is, an understanding that because His Spirit lives within us we are all ultimately and personally Spirit-led.

    Also, I trust we all believe in the ontological spiritual equality between male and female, which is at the very least what Gal 3:28 means for us. We are all—male and female—one in Christ Jesus, made in the likeness of our Creator, together and equally the image of God.

    And hopefully we all understand that each one of us in Christ Jesus are kings and queens in His eternal kingdom, priests and priestesses to one another as unto God Himself, and prophets and prophetesses of the Most High God of the universe. This is inherently who and what we are.

    Yet in our understandings we have one critical area wherein we differ—in our reading of 1 Timothy.

    Here is the ESV translation in question:

    I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man (2:12a),

    and here is the underlying Greek, followed by its transliteration into the Latin alphabet:

    διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός

    didaskein de gunaiki ouk epitrepo oude authentein andros

    With apologies for this comment being exponentially overlong, I would now like to offer a few academic (and hopefully logical) answers for your consideration regarding two of the above Objections.

    One—that gune (γυνή) in this verse “most likely refers to a wife” and not to a woman.

    and

    Two—that authenteo (αὐθεντέω) does not mean “to exercise authority” but instead “denotes a sort of sinister compelling.” The older translations coming much closer to its meaning with “domineer.”

    There is a lot that hinges upon the validity of these assertions, so let me begin by first answering Objection Two as simply as I know best through the quoting of a bit of scholarship from the second edition of Women in the Church—An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (particularly Henry Scott Baldwin’s lexical findings and Andreas J. Köstenberger’s syntactical research; Baker Academic, 2005). As I could not find a digital copy of it, I have transcribed various excerpts below; and with it being a scholarly work where the Greek script is employed sans transliterations, I have provided in brackets simple [transliterations] for smoother reading.

    Yes, it is lexically true that the Greek verb authenteo can carry the negative meaning “to domineer.” Yet keep in mind this “sinister compelling” notion, as far as I’m aware, is found but only once in all the eighty-five known authenteo instances in ancient Greek literature, in the writing of Chrysostom (ca. AD 390), more than three hundred years after the writing of 1 Timothy. It is a rare word stretched out over fourteen centuries. So in our attempts to clarify the 1 Tim 2:12 meaning of authenteo, word study approaches by themselves will yield inconclusive results. So after acquiring a lexical appreciation of the term we need to study the context and grammar—particularly a specific syntactical analysis—of our phrase in question.

    First, here are two quoted conclusions from Baldwin’s lexical study of authenteo, (from the most rigorous and thorough study of the verb every done, covering all the extant papyrus manuscripts and ancient Greek literature):

    ‘Upon analyzing these eight-five currently known occurrences of the verb αὐθεντέω [authenteo], it becomes evident that the unifying concept is that of authority‘ (Baldwin, p45).

    and

    ‘What we can say with certainty is that we have no instances of a pejorative use of the verb before the fourth century AD. The data available, however, provide clear indication that the widely understood meanings of αὐθεντέω [authenteo] were based on the idea of the possession or exercise of authority’ (Baldwin, p49).

    What is at stake here? What specifically has been called into question? And why does it matter?

    Prior to the publishing of Köstenberger’s syntactical research the 1 Tim 2:12 debate over the meaning of authenteo was centered upon the question of whether the word was to be understood as conveying a general or positive meaning such as “to exercise authority over,” or whether it should be read as having a pejorative or negative meaning such as “to domineer.”

    If the negative meaning is possible, then we can read the verse to suggest that Paul is proscribing women from only a negative exercise of authority, implying the permissibility of women teaching and possessing positive authority over men.

    Now let us turn to Köstenberger’s syntactical analysis of διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός [didaskein de gunaiki ouk epitrepo oude authentein andros].

    Köstenberger’s Greek syntactical parallel background studies within the New Testament and ancient literature seems to have rendered conclusive results to the academic community—due to syntactical considerations a negative reading of authenteo must be ruled out.

    There is about a zero percent chance of authenteo having a negative connotation in 1 Timothy. Köstenberger has identified two distinct syntactical patterns that parallel (outside the NT) or most closely parallels (inside the NT) the grammatical construction of our biblical phrase in question. I’ll let Köstenberger speak for himself below, but what I want to emphasize here is that of all the parallel examples that exist for us today, there are only two distinct patterns in evidence. No exceptions in all the known literature were found.

    Köstenberger’s work (first published in 1995) has been examined and proven true. And most importantly his study has met with “virtually unanimous acceptance” among his academic peers (complementarian as well as egalitarian scholars). So I believe the egalitarian issue now has moved beyond the question of accepting this as a proscription, biblical egalitarians most nearly all agree to the restriction, they just relegate the proscription to the local context—situational to the time and place of first century Ephesus.

    [[ Without trying to do way too much in my comments here, I believe an appeal for a mere local restriction can be answered by the text itself. These words appear to testify against it: 1 Tim 2:8 “I desire then that in every place (ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ [en panti topo] . . .” And 1 Tim 3:14-15 where Paul is writing these things “so that you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth.” ]]

    Here, now, is Köstenberger’s academic breakdown:

    Syntactical Parallels to 1 Timothy 2:12 in the New Testament

    ‘Strictly speaking, there is only on close syntactical parallel to 1 Timothy 2:12 in the New Testament, Acts 16:21, where the same construction, a negated finite verb + infinitive + οὐδὲ [oude] + infinitive is found. However, if one allows for verbal forms other than infinitives to be linked by οὐδὲ [oude], fifty-two further passages can be identified. These can be grouped into two patterns of the usage of οὐδὲ [oude]:

    ‘—Pattern 1: two activities or concepts are viewed positively in and of themselves, but their exercise is prohibited or their existence is denied due to circumstances or conditions adduced in the context.

    ‘—Pattern 2: two activities or concepts are viewed negatively, and consequently their exercise is prohibited or their existence is denied or they are to be avoided.

    ‘In both pattern, the conjunction οὐδὲ [oude] coordinates activities of the same order, that is, activities that are both viewed either positively or negatively by the writer or speaker’ (p 57).

    Köstenberger goes on to list them (pp 57-59).

    ‘These examples set forth the New Testament evidence that οὐδὲ [oude] joins terms denoting activities that are both viewed either positively or negatively by the writer or speaker. The implication of this observation for 1 Timothy 2:12 is that there are only two acceptable ways of rendering that passage: (1) “I do not permit a woman to teach [error] or to domineer over a man,” or (2) “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man”’ (p 60).

    and

    ‘Since, therefore, the term διδάσκειν [didaskein] is used absolutely in the New Testament for an activity that is viewed positively in and of itself, and since οὐδὲ [oude] coordinates terms that are both viewed either positively or negatively, αὐθεντεῖν [authentein] should be seen as denoting an activity that is viewed positively in and of itself as well. Thus, 1 Timothy 2:12 is an instance of the first pattern, in which the exercise of two activities is prohibited or the existence of two concepts is denied by the writer due to special considerations’ (p 62).

    Syntactical Parallels to 1 Timothy 2:12 in Extrabiblical Literature

    ‘The study of syntactical parallels to 1 Timothy 2:12 in the New Testament has yielded significant insights. Two patterns of the use of οὐδὲ [oude] were identified, both consisting of coordinated expressions of the same order. However, since the New Testament contains only one exact syntactical parallel where οὐδὲ [oude] links two infinitives governed by a negated finite verb, it seems desirable to extend the scope of this investigation to extrabiblical Greek literature preceding or contemporary with the New Testament era.

    ‘The IBYCUS system, a computer program with the capability of searching virtually all the extant ancient Greek literature, has enabled the researcher to study all Greek literature directly relevant to the study of the syntax used in 1 Timothy 2:12’ (pp 62-63).

    Köstenberger goes on to list (with context and English translations) forty-eight syntactical parallels to 1 Tim 2:12 found in the extrabiblical Greek literature (pp 63-71).

    ‘Confirming the earlier study of the use of οὐδὲ [oude] in the New Testament, these instances suggest that the construction “negated finite verb + infinite + οὐδὲ [oude] + infinitive” is used to link two infinitives denoting concepts or activities that are both viewed either positively or negatively by the writer. the same two patterns of the usage of οὐδὲ [oude] are found: pattern 1, where two activities or concepts are viewed positively in and of themselves, but their exercise is prohibited or their existence is denied due to circumstances or conditions adduced in the context; and pattern 2, where two activities or concepts are viewed negatively, and consequently their exercise is prohibited or their existence is denied or they are to be avoided’ (p 71).

    Conclusion

    ‘In analogy to the observations made in the study of New Testament syntactical parallels to 1 Timothy 2:12 above, the following conclusions may be drawn. The implication of the identified patterns of the usage of οὐδὲ [oude] for 1 Timothy 2:12 is that the activities denoted by the two infinitives διδάσκειν [didaskein] and αὐθεντεῖν [authentein] will both be viewed either positively or negatively by the writer. That is, the passage should be rendered either “I do not permit a woman to teach [error] or to usurp a man’s authority” or “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have (or exercise) authority over a man.”

    ‘The meaning of διδάσκειν [didaskein] in 1 Timothy 2:12 is therefore an important preliminary issue in determining the meaning of αὐθεντεῖν [authentein]. As was argued above, διδάσκειν [didaskein], when used absolutely, in the New Testament always denotes an activity that is viewed positively by the writer, to be rendered “to teach” (cf. esp. 1 Tim. 4:11; 6:2; 2 Tim 2:2). If the writer had intended to give the term a negative connotation in 1 Timothy 2:12, he would in all likelihood have used the term ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν [heterodidaskalein] (as in 1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3) or some other contextual qualifier specifying the (inappropriate or heretical) content of the teaching (as in Titus 1:11).

    ‘Since the first part of 1 Time 2:12 reads, “But I do not permit a woman to teach,” and the coordinating conjunction οὐδὲ [oude] requires the second activity to be viewed correspondingly by the writer, αὐθεντεῖν [authentien] should be regarded as viewed positively as well and be rendered “to have (or exercise) authority,” and not “to flout the authority of” or “to domineer”’ (p 74).

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  92. Lastly, I’d like to answer (with what I hope is good logic) Objection One—the assertion that gune (γυνή) in this verse “most likely refers to a wife” and not to a woman.

    In 1 Corinthians 7:4 we read, “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

    We see in 1 Cor 7:4 that a wife does in fact have a measure of authority over her husband. So as we hold 1 Tim 2:12 in tension with the rest of Scripture it would be a logical contradiction to read gune in this verse as “a wife” prohibited from exercising authority over her “husband.” The only proper reading for gune here is “a woman” in the context of the gathered assembly.

    I realize there are arguments to the contrary. Like Gordon Hugenberger’s assertion that for Paul grounding his 1 Tim 2:12 proscription in the account of Adam and Eve along with its conceptual parallels with 1 Peter 3:1-7, that we should therefore read aner and gune as “husband” and “wife” for the phrase in question “concerns marriage roles, not gender roles,” according to him.

    In 1 Peter 3 the relationship between aner and gune is specifically qualified by the word idiois, a modifier which makes it clear that a husband-and-wife relationship is what is being discussed. However, In 1 Tim 2 there is no such clarifying terms to indicate that Paul is exclusively addressing married couples.

    With all due respect to Hugenberger, I believe it is an eisegetical error to conclude on the basis of the 1 Tim 2 Adam-and-Eve reference that Paul is exclusively addressing the issue of roles within the marriage context—especially since Paul is smack dab in the middle of addressing the issue of order and qualifications of overseers and deacons within the church.

    When Paul writes “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” he grounds this prohibition on the created order, and then details how Eve was deceived and not Adam.

    Why on earth was Paul inspired to include verses 14 and 15? For the reason that he was addressing the issue of “deceiving spirits” (4:1); and, certainly, for other significant reasons—whether clearly discernible to us or not.

    We know from Genesis 3 that the consequence of the woman’s transgression involved an intensifying of pain in childbirth, and that her “desire will be for her husband, and he shall rule over” her (Gen 3:16). This reference, I’m certain, is a vital key to appreciating the situation of 1 Tim 2.

    Here’s what Wayne Grudem writes concerning the word “desire” in Gen 3:16:

    ‘The word translated “desire” is an unusual Hebrew word, teshuqah. In this context and in this specific construction it probably implies an aggressive desire, perhaps a desire to conquer or rule over, or else an urge or impulse the woman has to oppose her husband, an impulse to act against him. This sense is seen in the only other occurrence of teshuqah in all the books of Moses and the only other occurrence of teshuqah plus the preposition ‘el [i.e., “against”] in the whole Bible. That occurrence is in the very next chapter of Genesis, in Genesis 4:7. God says to Cain, “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

    ‘Here the sense is very clear. God pictures sin like a wild animal waiting outside Cain’s door, waiting to pounce on him and overpower him. In that sense, sin’s “desire” or “instinctive urge” is “against” him.

    ‘What a remarkable parallel this is to Genesis 3:16! In the Hebrew text, six words are the same words and found in the same order in both verses. It is almost as if this other usage is put here by the author so that we would know how to understand the meaning of the term in Genesis 3:16. The expression in 4:7 has the sense, “desire, urge, impulse against” (or perhaps “desire to conquer, desire to rule over”). And that sense fits very well in Genesis 3:16 also.’ [End of Grudem quote]

    I realize it’s a delicate subject in today’s climate to even discuss gender differences. However, without presently saying anything more about this, it appears to me that Paul is referencing something of critical importance here.

    Adam and Eve were not only the first husband and wife, they were also the first man and woman. They, inevitably, represent both marital and gender aspects. We can not separate this reality, nor confuse the intended roles God has purposed for men and women. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matt 19:4-5).

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  93. Monax,

    Did I assure you I have a working knowledge of the Greek such that I should be able to follow your analysis? Well, I’m on the very edge of having to eat crow. Or maybe not. I think I follow you. It will take time and another read-through or three, but we shall see.

    As to being able to respond on the same level as what you have presented, I fully and freely admit that I am completely over matched. Still, I will see what I can come up with. Over time. Probably in installments.

    Still, let me start with this. I’m not so sure that grammatical/syntactical parallelism is determinative where the issue is the meaning of a particular word. You cite Grudem’s argument that, due to common grammatical construction, Eve’s “desire” for her husband must be the same as sin’s “desire” for Cain.

    Let me rebut by presenting a hypothetical. If Saddam Husein were to have been quoted as saying “I desire George Bush,” we would have understood this usage of “desire” to have been similar to sin’s “desire” for Cain. If, on the other hand, I should receive an email from my wife that simply says “I desire my husband,” what am I supposed to do? Am I to reason that I should run for cover? After all, the grammatical construction of “I desire George Bush” and “I desire my husband” are quite the same. No no. While there might have been a call for extra security for the President, I’m thinking that my own best course of action would be to drop all else and make a beeline for my wife.

    So, while it is common for a single word to have multiple meanings, grammatical parallelisms cannot be said to determine an ambiguous usage. Or so I submit.

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  94. One reason I do not trust Grudem as a scholar when it comes to any issue pertaining to women and interpretations:

    “John Piper and Wayne Grudem state that Epiphanius (315-403) wrote an Index of Disciples, in which he writes: “Iounias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria.” According to them, Epiphanuis wrote “of whom” as a masculine relative pronoun thereby indicating that he thought Iounias was a man.8 Piper and Grudem also presented the results of their computer search of ancient Greek writings looking for the name “Junia(s).” Based on their findings, they concluded that “no one should claim that Junia was a common woman’s name in the Greek speaking world, since there are only three known examples in all of ancient Greek literature.”9

    a. Discussion. Douglas Moo discusses Epiphanius and calls into question the reliability of this evidence because in the same passage, Epiphanius thought “Prisca” (Priscilla) was a man.”10 This church father also wrote and believed that “the female sex is easily seduced, weak and without much understanding. The Devil seeks to vomit out this disorder through women… We wish to apply masculine reasoning and destroy the folly of these women” (Epiphanius, Adversus Collyridianos, Migne, Patrologia Graeca, Volume 42, Column 740 f).11″

    http://godswordtowomen.org/juniapreato.htm

    It is incredibly shoddy scholarship to quote Epiphanius as a source for Junia being a male since he also claimed Priscia was a male. Grudem, the scholar, neglected to mention that part when he and Piper presented their “research”.

    That is just one. Another was his claim that “God submits to us when He helps us” to try and affirm “ezer” as meaning submission since God is also referred to as an Ezer.

    There are many more examples. And most importantly, his recent backing of Mahaney calls any of his discernment into question.

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  95. GW, before I retire for the evening let me come alongside you and help you make your point.

    Just as Lydia directs our attention to, teshuqah would be an example of what would be called a tris legomenon, since this word occurs thrice in Scripture, two very near occurrences in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7, and several hundred years later we find it again in the Song of Solomon, “I am my beloved’s and his desire (תְּשׁוּקָתֹו) is for me” (7:10).

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  96. Grudem also teaches ESS.

    And when someone uses the word “ontological” you know you are getting ready to hear you are “equal” but not really in practical application. Same with Jesus. Grudem says of Jesus: ““ontological equality but economic subordination,” Or ““equal in being but subordinate in role.”. Keep in mind this is taught as being true in Eternity past and eternity future of Jesus Christ, Lord of Hosts. Any other belief they consider heresy. Jesus is a lesser “god”

    This is in Grudem’s ST which is the true bible for most seminarians these days.

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  97. Monax,

    As I understand the argument, it is said that a comparison of syntactical parallels will demonstrate that, where Greek infinitives are used with a negated finite verb and connected by οὐδὲ [oude, roughly “nor” in English], the infinitives will both have either a positive connotation or a pejorative connotation. Acts 16:21 is presented as the only close syntactical parallel in the New Testament.

    Well, it seems to me that to say that 1 Tim 2:12 is syntactically parallel to Acts 6:21 is like saying Apples are the same as oranges because they are both fruit. Yes, both passages have a negated finite verb, 2 infinitives and the word οὐδὲ [oude]. However, in the Acts passage the infinitives are connected directly: παραδέχεσθαι οὐδὲ ποιεῖν [paradexesthai oude poien, “to accept nor (oude) to do”]. The connection of the infinitives is not at all direct in the 1 Tim passage. Rather, the infinitives (“to teach” and “to dominate/usurp authority/exercise authority”) are in two separate clauses, with οὐδὲ [oude] being used to connect, not the infinitives, but the clauses in which the infinitives appear.

    I also note that the referent in the Acts passage, “Romans,” is dative (similar to indirect object in English), while the referent in 1Tim, “(a) man/husband” is genitive (generally similar to possessive in English, though not always). I don’t want to make too big a deal of this fact, but it is at least some small detail with regard to which the syntax of the two passages is not parallel.

    I do wonder if the use of the genitive in 1 Tim 2:12 doesn’t have some significance that tends to be obscured in English translation. Maybe you can help?

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  98. good eye, GW!

    short answer: for those very reasons is why the scope of Köstenberger’s (syntactical parallells) investigation was extended to extrabiblical Greek literature.

    as for your genitive question. . i don’t immediately see the obscured significance. . then again there is much in the Greek that is obscured by our English syntax, for instance, such as the infinitive διδάσκειν, “to teach,” is really the first word of our phrase in question and should therefore be read with more stress. Word order does have an effect on meaning. We could note also that it’s initial position in the phrase serves to contrast with μανθανέτω, “should learn,” in the previous sentence.

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  99. and that’s why paraphrased translations of the Bible work so well. . for there’s not often a singular one-to-one Greek-to-English correspondence between words. .

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  100. Monax,

    Plus which, if one can’t find a literal or so-called dynamic equivalence translation to fill the bill, one can almost always find a paraphrase to back up the point one is trying to make. Mostly joking here of course, but this seemed to me to be a real issue in Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.”

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  101. Gary, here’s something pretty cool about the word לָמַד lāmaḏ.

    It is the Biblical Hebrew word for “teach” and “learn.” Same word—the only difference is that one meaning is pronounced more intensely than the other.

    From this I see that “teaching” (from the Hebraic perspective) was understood as an intensive form of “learning.”

    לָמַד lāmaḏ

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  102. David,

    So, by your teaching me all this stuff, you’re engaged in an intensive form of לָמַד? For my part, on the present topic, I’m sure my only learning is un-intensive. I’m certainly not qualified to teach.

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  103. but Gary, surely you’ve had opportunities to teach. . and when you have, hasn’t this proven true—that you were the one who learned the most in the teaching process?

    that’s the way it goes for me

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  104. Oh yes. Unless one is simply presenting the same old stuff over and over, the teacher definitely learns more than the student–particularly with a lecture format. I think the Socratic method, which is my preferred method, tends to even things out a bit because the students are drawn into taking an active role. The twist is that with the Socratic method there is opportunity for the students to teach the teacher.

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  105. Since “Socratic” has a bit of a “gadfly” connotation to it, I like to consider our method dialogical in nature. You’re a lawyer, right?

    As a “Sunday School teacher,” for instance, I’ve come to class with sometimes ten hours of study under my belt. And mostly these were classes that were going through a book of the bible, so everybody knew ahead of time the text we would be covering (anyone else could have put in as much time as they could too). So my job mostly worked out to being a facilitator of conversation and learning.

    Through each other is where we all are led and taught by the Holy Spirit—in these dialogues with Scripture and with each other. Truly, yes, this is the best method I’ve found for teaching—in conversations with each other.

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  106. as i’m thinking about it—the preferred method of inquiry for a two-year-old is the Socratic method. .

    you know, “Why?” is followed by “Why?” is followed by “Why?” ad infinitum

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  107. In a Sunday School or informal Bible study type setting, Dialogical probably is what it tends to become if I’m a student, whether the teacher likes it or not. If I’m the teacher I’ll likely have a direction I want the discussion to go, so it’s more Socratic. And, yes, I’m a lawyer.

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  108. Monax,

    Please allow me to make some observations I think are relevant, although I would not say they are completely determinative, with regard to Baldwin/Kostenberger and the meaning of authentein (to exercise authority, usurp authority or domineer/dominate).”

    1. http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/search?q=kostenberger (Suzanne McCarthy, cited by Lydia) points us to at least one usage of authentein prior to its appearance in 1 Tim 2, and in that instance even Grudem admits that authentein has a negative meaning. This appears to be contrary to what Baldwin/Kostenberger assert, which in turn prompts me to question their credibility on the matter. In fairness, one must also consider the possibility that it is Grudem’s credibility that is on the line.

    2. It appears that Kostenberger may be committed to the Complementarian position. If so, he must be viewed as an advocate whose arguments must be viewed with a good, healthy dose of objective skepticism. He stands in the position of a lawyer arguing a client’s case, and not as the judge who must determine which lawyer’s arguments conform to the the facts and the law. It is my observation that the more clever and creative a lawyer’s arguments, the less likely the facts and law are to be in their client’s favor. Kostenberger, it seems to me, is sufficiently accomplished in the art of mental gymnastics that he should have been a lawyer. (That, by the way, is a compliment–not to be confused with complement.)

    3. Nobody seems to be referring to even one historical instance where authentein is clearly used in a positive sense. But maybe I’m missing something?

    4. Assuming that didaskein (to teach) and authentein must both have positive connotations, or else they must both have negative connotations, the issues are still not resolved. It is pointed out that didaskein has a negative connotatioin in Titus 1:11. Why not turn the whole argument around and conclude that, because authentein is negative in connotation, didaskein must also carry a negative connotation in this particular verse?

    5. I suggest that it may be relevant that it is only fairly recently that there has been a concerted effort to give authentein a positive or neutral connotation. Surely the fact that the Vulgate uses the word dominare to translate authentein is not without persuasive significance.

    6. While freely admitting that my observations on this next point are those of an amateur, it occurs to me that the use of ἀνδρός [andros], the genitive form of ἀνήρ [aner = man or husband] may have this significance: a Greek genitive is most commonly translated as an English possessive. If authentein, in and of itself, is to be interpreted in a positive or neutral sense of exercising authority, the most common rendering of the genitive would result in 1 Tim 2:12 being translated along the lines of “I do not permit a woman to exercise authority of a man.” This, in turn, seems to me to lend credibility to the KJV rendering of authentein as “usurp authority.”

    7. The Greek terms for woman/wife and man/husband are both singular. Whatever Paul is said to be proscribing, the Greek has it relating to one woman or wife (singular) and one man or husband (singular).

    8. On the one hand the Complementarians want to argue that Eve’s desire for her husband is to be understood as a wish to dominate him. The same people argue that Paul is proscribing not just the domination of a husband (singular) by a wife (singular), but the exercise of any and all roles involving the exercise of authority by women (plural) over men (plural). Why not be content with proscribing only the very thing they see to be Eve’s fault? Because I reject the complementarian/patriarchist view of the nature of Eve’s “desire” for her husband, I cannot make too much of a substantive point here. However, to me at least, their inconsistency on this point tends to confirm my firm conviction that I need to be on guard against advocacy masquerading as scholarship–especially when considering the views presented by Kosternberger, Grudem and other “leading lights” who are (or appear to be) pre-committed to a complementarian or patriarchist view.

    In my next comment I will suggest that we are ill advised to be concentrating on the Greek infinitives for “to teach” and “to exercise authority/usurp authority/domineer/dominate.” Rather, I will suggest that we should be paying attention to the actual verb, ἐπιτρέπω [epitrepo], which, when combined with οὐκ [ouk], is generally translated as something along the lines of “I do not permit.” I intend to do my best to contest this rendering. For now, however, I have leaky plumbing clamoring for my attention.

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  109. Gary W,Thanks for taking the time to read Suzannes analysis of Kostenberger’s assertion. I have always found her fair simply looking for truth and admits when there is no clear answer. Her blog is a wealth of such research concerning other Greek words that are badly interpreted in meaning such as kephale. Thank you for your irenic analysis.

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  110. Irenic: tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory. (Dictionary.com). I do hope David/monax agrees I’m being irenic, as I expect he will. There are others, meaning our self-appointed spiritual “betters,” who seemingly would define irenic as agreeing with them. Otherwise, we’re just being divisive.

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  111. GW, my friend, I expect to have some good time on Sunday to turn my attentions to your observations of Aug 4. I do, however, know I’ll first need to give myself to some fresh readings of the research before considering an answer. So I want to apologize for all my slowness in responding.

    Thank goodness for internet technology, as I can share with you three papers on my yet to read list:

    Αυθεντειν In The Aeschylus Scholium by David K. Huttar in JETS 44/4 (Dec 2001) 615-25

    and

    A Semantic Study of authentes and its Derivatives by Al Wolters in Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 1 (2004) 145-175 [reprinted in JBMW 11/1 (Spring 2006) 44-65]

    Αυθεντης And Its Cognates In Biblical Greek by Al Wolters in JETS 52/4 (Dec 2009) 719-29

    . .

    Gary, I hope you were successful in getting your plumbing fixed.

    And regarding an irenic character. My ethic here is probably best mottoed by something Martin Luther once said, “Peace if possible, truth at all cost.”

    [[ I’m going to post this separately for knowing it will likely get held up in moderation for having three links ]]

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  112. [[ cont. from above ]]

    You know, since Aug 2, I’ve spent much of my free time studying the Song of Solomon.

    Last Friday, in my efforts to understand the meaning of teshuqah (and to check Grudem’s work), I consulted a few lexicons, then decided to dive straight into a reading of the Song of Solomon—where our only other occurrence of teshuqah is found outside the Genesis 3-4 context.

    It’s been some years since I’ve read it, since I’ve swam in these Solomonic waters. However, this time around I found myself awe-struck at what in my eyes appears to be one of the most beautiful works of dramatic poetry ever written. From Solomon’s word imagery to the arrangement of the story elements—this song is one spectacular work of art!

    We read in Ecclesiastes 12:10 how “the Preacher sought to find words of delight.” We know from 1 Kings 4:32 that “he spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.” So apparently this was his masterpiece—wherein a most teshuqah of proverbs (toward the end of the song) is embedded: “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (SS 8:7).

    Now the reason I find this proverb speaking to the reality of teshuqah is for a certain etymology of the word. With the noun teshuqah being so rare, I found it good to look to the verb (from whence it came) for its potential meaning.

    The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon directed me to the verb shuq as the root of teshuqah. And the Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Hebrew gives shuq two shades of meaning: “—1 (polel) water sufficiently, i.e., place or give water on plants in amounts adequate and proper to keep plants growing and healthy (Ps 65:10). . . —2 (hif) overflow, i.e., to attempt to have more of a mass or quantity in a container than the container will allow, and the excess spills over the edge or lip (Joel 2:24; 4:13).”

    Shuq essentially means to be abundant; to be satiated. And so we have this negated sense played out in the proverb—Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it (SS 8:7).

    [[ I should note how this proverb is preceded in wording by a deadly, jealous love that is the “very flame of the LORD” (in SS 8:6).

    This is key, I believe, toward appreciating how the same sort of desire that Eve will have for Adam (Gen 3:16; the verse that follows our protoeuangelium, the first proclamation of a Savior), is the same sort of possessive desire that Sin has for Cain (Gen 4:7), is the same sort of irresistible desire King Solomon has for his Shulammite Queen (SS 7:10), is the same sort of intensity of desire the LORD has for His Bride—a fervent, passionate, clinging, overwhelming to death, unquenchable longing. Ultimately, teshuqah expresses a thirst that only the fountain of life can satisfy.

    Also, I should note that if the name Shulammite is etymologically related to shalem, meaning “to be complete,” then Shulammite would mean “the completed one” or “the peaceful one.” ]]

    Here’s what I know about King Solomon—the man’s love for the most beautiful of women could not be satiated! It was also the ruin of him, for we read in 1 Kings 11 how his many forbidden wives turned his heart after other gods and goddesses.

    The young Solomon was a wise scholar, and would certainly have been on intimate terms with the word teshuqah.

    He was also the beloved son of King David—the bloody warrior-poet.

    Solomon’s kingdom, however, was at peace. So where his father went out to war for the blood of men to expand his kingdom, his beloved son went out and hunted down beautiful women to add to his collection of queens and concubines and virgins without number.

    I truly suspect there might not have been any greater pursuit for King Solomon than the ongoing apprehension of the mystery and meaning of teshuqah.

    In fact, I commend his Song of Songs to you as the best commentary I know to be written on the mystery and meaning of teshuqah.

    Without going into all my many thoughts on this I want to draw our attention to a few things within the Song of Songs that serve to support Grudem’s portrayal of teshuqah as an “aggressive desire,” perhaps even “a desire to conquer.”

    So while Solomon can be characterized as a king who hunts down women to make them his brides, so can our Shulammite be characterized as a huntress who pursues and seduces and captures her prey.

    There’s a lot of violent imagery and animalistic energy in the text, and the Song of Songs is erotic to the core. Take note of the garden references and to the eating of each others fruit. Can we not see this as a potential connection to the Gen 3 context?

    (2:3) SHE: “With great delight I sat in his shadow [She likened Solomon to an apple tree], and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

    (7:7-10) HE: “Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.”

    SHE: “It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth. I am my beloved’s, and his teshuqah is for me.”

    The Song ends with this:

    (8:14) SHE: “Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spice.”

    Man alive! As a single man, after reading this, I nearly needed a cold shower. Had running through my head dark images of a Lebanese Queen calling upon her beloved to climb her spice-laden mountains! Goodness, if it wasn’t for the Yah reference this book probably wouldn’t have been recognized as inspired Holy Writ.

    (6:4-5) HE: “You are beautiful, my love. . . awesome as an army of banners. Turn away your eyes from me, for they overwhelm me—”

    (6:10) HE: “Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?”

    After SHE and OTHERS answer him, (6:13) HE says, “Why should you look upon the Shulammite, as upon a dance before two armies?”

    There it is! It appears that Solomon is visualizing this “courtship” as a dance between two war machines set to conquer and be conquered.

    I’ll stop short of saying more, but as I see it, Grudem’s assessment of teshuqah (as qualified by ‘el) in Gen 3:16 is kosher.

    While we’re here, let me drop something that is echoing around in my head from the poet-philosophers, the philologist Friedrich Nietzsche. If you’re familiar with the Song of Solomon the connections will be apparent.

    Thus Spake Nietzsche, “A real man wants two things: danger and play. Therefore he wants woman as the most dangerous plaything. Man should be educated for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior; all else is folly. The warrior does not like all-too-sweet fruit; therefore he likes woman: even the sweetest woman is bitter. Woman understands children better than man does, but man is more childlike than woman.

    “In a real man a child is hidden—and wants to play. Go to it, women, discover the child in man! Let woman be a plaything, pure and fine, like a gem, irradiated by the virtues of a world that has not yet arrived. Let the radiance of a star shine through your love!”

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  113. Monax,

    What a superlative treatment of Song of Solomon! Who could do better? Certainly I could not come close. I do have a confession to make. Until I got to the very end of your insightful commentary, I thought you had changed your mind and were arguing for my view of the Gen 3:16 meaning of teshuquah!

    Still, maybe I have misunderstood Grudem’s point. Grudem’s assertion, quoted by you on 8/1 @ 4:07 PM, is that teshuquah “implies an aggressive desire, perhaps a desire to conquer or rule over, or else an urge or impulse the woman has to oppose her husband, an impulse to act against him.” If Grudem is referring to a sometimes jealous desire on a woman’s part to conquer her husband in romantic love and relationship, to rule over his maybe wandering ways, to put a stop to his tendency to pursue others than herself, if Grudem is speaking of a desire that can sometimes morph into a willingness to tolerate and enable all the ways in which a husband can fail notwithstanding the wife’s best efforts, I can agree with both you and Grudem.

    Regardless what of Grudem means, I agree with you (though I freely confess that we may need to agree that you may not agree with all the ways in which I agree with you).

    I still owe you some thoughts on the meaning of ἐπιτρέπω (epitrepo, translated “permit”) as used in 1 Tim 2:12. For now I will simply note that, although “permit” seems to be the only sense in which the word is translated in the NT, the first definition in Strong’s, according to the electronic version I am looking at, is “to turn to, transfer, commit, instruct.” Paul is either releasing women from (the burden of?) teaching and exercising authority over men, or he is outright prohibiting them from teaching/misteaching and exercising authority/domineering over men. The cynic, er, I mean objective realist, in me strongly suspects that, in choosing to apply the prohibitive sense of epitrepo, the men in charge of translation are simply living out that part of the Adamic curse whereby men misogynistically tend to seek to rule over women.

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  114. very good, Gary. .

    fyi: i sent you an email with seven different lexical entries from various NT Greek Dictionaries for ἐπιτρέπω

    i believe we’re looking at a first person, singular, present, active, indicative verb

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