Persecution in America? Chicken Little vs. the Ostrich

by Reed DePace

In the wake of the two same sex marriage decisions from the Supreme Court I wrote to a group of ministerial friends and acquaintances asking for copies of their church’s marriage policies. I did so because I expect churches and pastors will be facing, in just a few years, at least civil assaults via this issue.

Some reaction to my concern was that I was being an alarmist. Another labeled my concern absurd (def.: ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous; having no rational or orderly relationship to human life).

O.k., maybe like Chicken Little I don’t know an acorn from persecution. Yet, before going gaily on your way, I’d ask you to at least consider the discussion a bit more fully. Maybe the following articles will help:

I do not believe the goal is mere legitimization. No, I think that which is pushing homosexuality across our culture is a greater moral goal, one with two components. This goal is to secure the acknowledgement, in all parts of our culture:

  1. Of the moral superiority of homosexuality, and
  2. Of the moral depravity of any who deny this (and so, must be treated as the worst bigots in history, e.g., KKK, Nazis, etc.).

Think I’m Chicken Little? Stanley Hauerwas, “America’s Best Theologian” (Time Magazine, 2001) began to make just such an argument back in 1993. The Bible is already well on its way to being labeled morally degenerate in terms of its moral condemnation of homosexuality. Already opponents of same sex marriage are shying away from making a moral-based argument.

Whether I’m Chicken Little or not, at the very least the homosexual juggernaut (as another friend labels it) is on the move. Where it stops, and what it crushes along the way may be debatable. It should hardly be a debatable point that it is on an (humanly) unstoppable roll.

Will pastors face persecution via the same sex marriage issue? Christian laymen already are:

Oh, and a church has experienced persecution over this issue.

So what should we do in response? I think there are at least three faith-responses we can offer that we can say are both our Father’s marching orders and carry His promise of blessing in response:

  1. Make reasonable preparations (Matthew 10:16; Colossians 4:5; Philippians 2:15). Investigate whether or not you or church has unnecessary legal exposure in the ways in which you offer services to non-members. Take appropriate measures to remove or mitigate this exposure.
  2. Pray for God to send us into these fields that are ripe for the Harvest (John 4:35; Matthew 9:36-38). The truth is that those in homosexuality are destroying themselves. They, their family and friends are suffering the worst of the effects of the fall, just short of what a Christ-less eternity brings.
  3. Love those who consider us their enemies by bringing them the gospel (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27-28): God will surely do in our generation what He has done in the past (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Imagine the joy you, saved from your depravity, will experience standing beside your brother or sister who was once your enemy trapped in homosexuality’s depravity.

I do hope I am just warning about acorns. But I don’t think this is the case. So I’ll see the charge that I’m being absurd and raise a “don’t be naïve!” Or maybe I can put it this way: I’d rather be Chicken Little than an ostrich.

by Reed DePace

Expectations In Marriage

I saw the lectures that form the basis of this book, and so, though I haven’t read the book yet, I can recommend it.

One of the biggest problems facing people who are contemplating getting married is the problem of expectations. We usually expect more from the potential spouse, and less of ourselves. Furthermore, we expect our future spouse to feed our own idolatries. Then, when they do not, we turn on them. Paul addresses these problems and others, advocating a reconciliation mindset full of God’s grace.

The Bride of Christ

(Posted by Paige)

A friend and I were discussing this biblical metaphor this morning, and I thought to cast this question out to all of you as well: Do you think it is in keeping with biblical intent to speak of the marriage of God or Christ to individual believers as well as to the Church corporate?

In his preaching and writing, my friend will speak in terms of both individual and corporate marriage as rich expressions of God’s/Christ’s relationship of union with believers. I am not sure that he is wrong to do so, but I am personally less comfortable speaking of the individual’s “marriage relationship” with Christ (or calling the individual believer the “Bride” of Christ), simply because in both OT and NT usage God and Christ are never (as far as I can see) said to be “married” to individuals, but only to the corporate bodies of Israel or the Church (cf. Is. 62:3-5; Jer. 2; Eph. 5; Rev. 21). On the other hand, there are plenty of relational metaphors available in the Bible that express the individual’s relationship to God and Christ: child, sibling, friend, sheep, servant (even slave), soldier, citizen, etc.

Is the application to individuals of this “marriage” metaphor a fair implication of the corporate picture of Christ’s Bride, or do you think it is beyond the intent of the scriptural witness? If the latter, do you perceive any harmful or misleading influence in speaking this way?

If, on the other hand, you think it is a fair way to picture Christ’s union with the believer, how can it be framed in teaching and preaching so that the individual does not lose sight of the corporate nature of being the Bride of Christ?

Thanks for your thoughts!

The Manhattan Declaration

I know I’m a bit slow to comment on the Manhattan Declaration, but I wanted some of my fathers in the faith to speak out first before I said anything. I had some initial impressions, but wanted them debated before I stuck out my neck. I shall stick it out now.

On each of the three issues, I issue a hearty amen to the position of the declaration. It would be difficult to do otherwise, when these issues are of such paramount importance, and the stance taken so completely biblical. I have picketed abortion clinics in the past, and support doing so now and in the future (as long as it is done legally). I firmly stand for marriage as God has defined it, not as how man wants to redefine it. And, in our context, where the freedom to worship God has been constantly eroded by humanistic thinking, what Christian wouldn’t be eager to say that he wants the freedom to worship the God he loves?

However, the concerns of Sproul, MacArthur, Horton, and Challies have all raised some very important issues about particular words and ideas used in the effort to create a monolithic Christian coalition on these issues. And there is where the rub lies. How is the word “gospel” and “Christian,” among other words, being used in this document? Is it a wax nose, twistable by any signer or reader into the shape he wishes? I was forced to come to this conclusion: those words are empty vessels, into which anyone can pour what meaning he chooses. I would much have preferred language like this: “Although we do not agree on the definition of “gospel” or “Christian” or “justification,” we can agree on these social issues.” This, I think, would have allowed folks like the ones linked above to sign this document in good conscience. It is really too bad that these flaws are deal-breakers for the men listed above, and for myself, especially when SOO many men I deeply respect have signed it, and when I yearn to say yes on the particular issues.

Interesting Article on Marriage and Intimacy

This article was interesting to me, and was shocking to me in many ways, this paragraph in particular:

Statistics show that few Americans wait. More than 93 percent of adults 18 to 23 who are in romantic relationships are having sex, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. For conservative Protestants in relationships and active in their faith, it’s almost 80 percent.

We certainly live in a sex-crazed culture. They quote the assistant pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Michael Lawrence) as saying that we are sending mixed messages to young people, telling them on the one hand to wait for sex until marriage, but then turning around and saying that they shouldn’t get married until later. It sets them up to fail, he says. I couldn’t agree more. When Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn, there is a keen realism there that understands the sexual drives of young people. People who are struggling with this issue, then, need to get married. Paul is not saying that marriage is bad, far from it. But the struggle means that the person is not called to be single. It is amazing to me how difficult it is for some people to grasp this concept.

The article also makes mention of the “eharmony philosophy” that the perfect person is going to be dumped into our lap at some point. I prefer Voddie Baucham’s approach. While it is important to see certain things in place, it is also true to say that marriages grow into something wonderful. They rarely start there.

The Best Book on Marriage

My Brother’s Announcement

I rejoice with joy only slightly less than Adrian’s own. (Of course), Susan’s announcement is quite a bit more colorful. Get a load of Adrian’s marriage proposal there: quite amusing.

Women in the Church- 1 Timothy 2:8-15, part 3

II. Hermeneutical Issues

A. Situation in Ephesus
Is it the case that complementarians pay absolutely no attention to the background of the situation in Ephesus, or do not let that information affect their exegesis? Who was Artemis of the Ephesians? Baugh argues against various egalitarian and otherwise commonly held opinions regarding who Artemis was and the situation of the cult, as well the position and status of women in Ephesus. I will not reproduce his arguments here, but only summarize them: Artemis at Ephesus was the regular Greek goddess, not the fertility goddess of the ANE; the cult did not involve cult prostitution, since the priestesses were largely prepubescent; there were educated women at Ephesus, contrary to the suggestion that Paul is merely forbidding unlearned women from teaching. The idea of the mother-goddess being conflated with Artemis is a common but highly speculative opinion, based on the interpretation of the famous statue having many breasts. Baugh indicates that this interpretation is highly suspect. Other examples have been found having such protuberances on male statues of Zeus (see pg. 31). Therefore, the position of the Kroegers (that Paul was reacting against some kind of Amazonian feminism gone awry, and that authentein means “to originate”) is untenable.

B. Creation, Fall, Redemption
The issue of Eve and the relation of her position to the Creation and the Fall is a complicated issue. Keener argues that the subordination of women was due to the Fall, and that therefore it is not prescriptive. However, this assertion does not make sense of the argument made about the temporal priority of the male in verse 13. In Ephesians, Paul notes that the man is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church (never mind now the much-vexed discussion of kephale), and that this was true from the beginning. Actually, the Fall obscured this relationship such that the woman would want to rule over the husband, but that the husband would domineer over her (Genesis 3:16). In Redemption, therefore, it is possible, through a relationship with Jesus Christ, to redeem this relationship back to what it was originally supposed to be. Women need to fulfill their God-appointed roles in order to do so. This is not to say that every woman needs to be a stay-at-home mother. On the other hand, it means that such stay-at-home women ought not to be despised, as they so often are today. The Bible would say that such a calling is the most noble calling to which a woman can aspire.

What of Galatians 3:28? This verse has been used as a grid through which all the other literature in the New Testament on the question of gender relationships has had to pass. But is it to be (ab)used in such a manner? Verse 27 (usually conveniently overlooked by all who quote verse 28) says that the unity is that of being in Christ, and having his righteousness given to us. Verse 24 invokes justification by faith. Therefore, verse 28 is talking about our status in Christ before God the Father. This is said by the same Paul who said that there are different roles for different people in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-30). Role distinction is not, I repeat, not a sign of inferiority! Just as there is no shame in being a brigadier general as opposed to a lieutenant general in the army, nor is there any inferiority of person, only hierarchy of role, so it is in the family/church.

A word must be said about the relationship of this passage to 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Keener argues that if we are going to be consistent about women in the church not having positions of authority over men, then we have to have them wear head coverings as well. It is disputed, however, whether Paul refers to something in addition to hair, or not. We cannot just assume that head coverings over and above the hair (hair is called a covering (verse 15)) is what is in view. Therefore, Keener’s objection is premature. He seems also to suggest that there is absolutely no cultural relativity in applicability of the Bible in the view of complementarians. This is manifestly not the case. “Greet one another with a holy kiss” is not usually interpreted to be universally binding in terms of its particular expression. Our equivalent today would be hugs or handshakes. However, in 1 Timothy, Paul argues from something that is not culturally bound, namely, the creation order of Adam and Eve, and the headship of Adam as male.

Another issue that must receive treatment is the issue of female prophecy. Several authors note that prophecy is just as authoritative as teaching. Prophecy is allowed to women. Therefore, teaching should be allowed as well. This involves a blurring of the distinction between office and function. Paul is talking about office in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (see the immediately following context). Schreiner’s contention that prophecy is more vertical, and teaching more horizontal does not convince me. Corinthians does not force the conclusion that the prophesying women held an office of prophet. What holds true for all the biblical examples of women teaching or holding a position of leadership is that such examples were exceptions to the rule. In the New Testament, prophecy was supposed to come upon women, because of the prophecy in Joel. Prophecy, therefore, is not a continuing entity in any case. Schreiner argues more convincingly that women could exercise prophetic gifts without disturbing male headship, whereas women could not teach men without disturbing male headship.8

III. Conclusions for Ethics

A. Goal, Motive and Standard of the two interpretations
The goal of the complementarian position (despite immense pressure from the culture to conform to the egalitarian position) has been, and should continue to be faithfulness to the biblical witness about the role of gender in the church. The motive has too often been a desire to keep the reins of power within the grasp of the men, without encouraging women to participate in ministry at all. This has resulted in the current backlash against tyrannical rule in the church, which rule has been based all too often on a view of women as inferior. However, to the extent that modern complementarian interpreters of this passage have discarded such unworthy motives, they are to be commended. Everywhere women are allowed to serve Christ, they should be encouraged to do so.

A great contrast between the ethics of the complementarian position and the ethics of the egalitarian position exists. The goal of the egalitarian position has been either explicitly or implicitly to conform to culture. Culture has the upper hand in hermeneutics in the egalitarian position, and culture interprets the Bible, rather than the other way around. This is demonstrated by the fact that the egalitarian position only became viable after about 1970. The motive might be many things. It is much easier to get a job at a main-line seminary or church, if one holds to egalitarian views. On the other hand, many “evangelical feminists” are not acting out of such impure motives, but are rather seeking to end inequality. The standard has been consistently to appeal to the current cultural situation as the definition of how we are to interpret the Bible. The Bible is effectively muzzled. There is a fear of the radical feminist wing that straight-jackets any opposition to their agenda. One is immediately labeled a misogynist if one holds to any difference in role (regardless of one’s view of the alleged ontological differences). Any difference in role is immediately seen to be an attack on the worth of a woman. We cannot let them win.

The definitive argument of this sort on the complementarian side (distinguishing between role and worth) is that of Charles Hodge. Jesus Christ is not one iota inferior to God the Father. He is God. And yet, there is a difference in role, one of subordination. Subordination is necessary in the world as a whole, for the world to “work.” Therefore, there is no dishonor at all in women being subject to male headship. Earle Ellis notes that only in the modern period are class distinctions viewed as evil per se.12

IV. Conclusion
If there is any more pressing issue in the conservative church today, I am at a loss to find it. Consistently, even in the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the issue of whether women should be allowed in ministry crops up just about every year in general assembly. A friend of mine recently said that it was only a matter of time before the GA voted to allow women into the ministry. I hope earnestly that he is wrong. I would be disappointed to have to leave the denomination in which I was baptized as an infant, and in which I grew up physically and spiritually (PCA). But the denomination would have left its moorings in the historic view of male headship as symbolized by Christ and the church, as well as any claim to see abiding principles in the Bible, rather than totally culturally determined “advice.” In this case, the slippery slope argument does work. Denominations that ordained women eventually ordain homosexuals, since Romans 1 and Leviticus 18 also become culturally relative. It is impossible to stop on such a slippery slope, as so many denominations have more than adequately demonstrated. Let us rather seek to be faithful to God’s Word.

1 See the irritatingly patronizing comments of Keener in Two Views, pg. 55.

2 See Köstenberger, Schreiner, Baldwin, 1995, pp. 13-52.

3 See Kroeger and Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman, 1992.

4 op. cit. pg. 63.

5 op. cit. pg. 62; see also Liefeld, 1999, pp. 109-110.

6 See Garland, 2003, pg. 505.

7 Women in the Church, pg. 129.

8 Women in the Church, pg. 130.

9 See Yarbrough, in Women in the Church, pp. 170-171.

10 See further Mounce, 2000, pg. 148.

11 Quoted in Women in the Church, pg. 255.

12 ibid. pg. 255.


Note: many more resources were consulted than are here listed. These were found to be the most relevant to the study at hand.

Commentaries on 1 Timothy:

Clark, Gordon H., The Pastoral Epistles (Jefferson, MD: Trinity Foundation, 1983)
Knight, George W. III, The Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992)
Liefeld, Walter L., The NIV Application Commentary: 1&2 Timothy/Titus
               (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999)
Lock, Walter, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1924)
Marshall, I. Howard, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles
             (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999)
Mounce, William D., The Pastoral Epistles (Dallas: Word, 2000)
Quinn, Jerome D. and William C. Wacker, The First and Second Letters to Timothy
             (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000)

Other books and articles:

Bauer, Walter, Frederick William Danker, William Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich,
              A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian
              Literature, 3rd edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000)
Beck, James R. and Craig L. Blomberg, editors Two Views on Women in Ministry
            (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001)
Garland, David E., I Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003)
Gruenler, Royce Gordon “The Mission-Lifestyle Setting of I Timothy 2:8-15.” JETS 41
             Fall, 1998, pp. 215-238.
Köstenberger, Andreas J, Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin, Women in the Church (Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1995)
Kroeger, R.C. and C.C. Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992)
Piper, John and Wayne Grudem Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
               (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1991)
Wilshire, L. E. “The TLG Computer and Further Reference to AUQENTEW in I Timothy 2:12.” NTS 34 (1988) 120-134.

Women in the Church- 1 Timothy 2:8-15, part 2

E. Verse 11

Here a shift in subject matter occurs from prayer to learning. Paul also changes the plural gunaixin (“women”) of verses 9-10 to singular gune (“woman”). However, does this shift involve also a shift from speaking about women in general to speaking about wives and husbands?1 The singular form does not automatically mean wife,2 even in close contrast with the plural form. Context must decide. Scholars and translations have not followed Quinn and Wacker here.3 I believe that Paul has in mind already the reasons in verses 13-14, which require a singular to connect with Eve as a representative. Therefore, Paul is using a generic singular to make his point. Mounce argues that a general principle is being stated here, and that the singular is most apropos.4 I think this is borne out further by Paul’s argument in verses 13-14, which speak of Adam and Eve as representative of male and female.

As many egalitarians have noted, hesuchia need not mean absolute silence.5 The word means “quiet, at peace.” The phrase at the end of the verse, en pase hupotage (“in all submission”), indicates that hesuchia must mean something in keeping with such submission. This phrase is usually overlooked by egalitarian scholars. They are quick to note the command for women to learn (manthaneto (“let them learn”) is an imperatival form indicating a command. This learning is an advance on Judaism, supposedly), but they are not quick to note the pase (“all”) in the last phrase of the verse. Paul has been emphasizing the manner in which men are to pray and in which women are to pray. Now, he stresses the manner in which women are to learn. It is an “in quietness, and without teaching” kind of learning. Lock notes that hupotage (“submission”)  hints at the entire relationship of woman to man in the house.6 Some scholars think that the question of manner extends through verse 12. However, as will be shown, such is not the case.

F. Verse 12
In many ways, this verse is the crux of the passage, and the most disputed. First, we will address the issue of the two infinitives. Köstenberger has shown that the construction of ouk…oude means that whatever those two words connect are viewed by the author either both positively, or both negatively.7 His argument is that if didaskein (“to teach”) be viewed positively, then so must authentein (“to have authority”). Didaskein is viewed positively within the Pastoral epistles as the passing on of the apostolic tradition. Therefore, authentein must also be viewed positively here as the normal exercise of authority. The importance of this argument will become sharper when the definition of authentein is discussed. Köstenberger’s argument has been challenged by I. Howard Marshall, in his commentary,8 and by Linda Belleville.9

Marshall argues in strange fashion from the less well-known word to the better-known word. He grants Köstenberger’s argument, but then takes it in the opposite direction by saying that because authentein most likely means “domineer,” or some such other negative meaning, that therefore didaskein must mean “false teaching.” Marshall says further that “the context makes it clear that the prohibition is stated because there was something wrong with the teaching given by the women. Although, then, the prohibition may appear to be universally applicable to women, it is in fact meant for a specific group of women among the recipients of the letter.”10

The problem with Marshall’s position is that he gives no evidence for his view of the context. It also does not follow that it is meant for a specific group within the community, even if we grant that the women were teaching. The issue is whether or not women are teaching at all. Köstenberger notes that if false teaching were in view, Paul would have used heterodidaskein (“to teach falsely”). Marshall objects that this would imply that Paul would allow men to teach falsely. But as Blomberg notes,11 this objection does not carry force, because Paul could have said it in a way that clearly avoided such an implication (e.g.: “I do not allow women to continue to teach falsehood”). Belleville’s objection is that the construction ouk…oude can be used to express goal (the first idea leads to the second). The translation then would be, “I do not permit a woman to teach in order to have mastery over a man.” However, in the examples she gives (Mt. 13:13 and Acts 17:24-25), her spin on the two ideas is not proved. Hearing is not necessary to understanding, nor is dwelling in a man-made temple necessary to being served by human hands.12 Her understanding of these passages would make the two infinitives more of a hendiadys (saying one thing by two words) than is warranted by the evidence. Didaskein and authentein are not likely to be a hendiadys, because they are separated by so many words. I think rather that didaskein receives the emphasis, being first in the sentence, and that authentein seems almost like an afterthought: “I do not permit a woman to teach, or, come to think of it, have any authority over a man (in the church setting).” Belleville further criticizes Köstenberger for not treating the infinitives like verbal nouns.13 She thinks they modify gune. However, what this assertion does for her argument is not clear. The infinitives complement ouk epitrepo, not gune. Gune is then the subject of the infinitives.

We must now deal with the meaning of authentein. Major research has been done on this word. Baldwin has done a very thorough job in researching all the known occurrences of the verb in extant Greek literature. His conclusion is that the one unifying concept of the word is that of authority.14 The fact that the verb form is never used to mean “murderer,” while the noun form authentes is, gives the lie to Keener’s and Belleville’s objections to Baldwin’s study. Keener is guilty of etymologizing, when he says that Baldwin should have included the noun form in his study.15 Marshall agrees with Baldwin on this issue of treating the verb form separately.16 In fact, Marshall criticizes Wilshire for making that very mistake in his analysis of the word authentein.17 Keener then has the audacity to claim that the entire argument for the complementarians depends on the meaning of this one word! As we shall see, such is far from the truth. Belleville claims that the one sense not in use at this time was “to have authority.”18 Baldwin has decisively shown that this is not the case. A more important argument is that of Belleville19 to the effect that Paul did not have to choose such an ambiguous word, and that if he had a positive meaning in mind, he could have used exousiazo. However, as Blomberg notes,20 exousiazo is hardly unambiguous itself. Blomberg notes the possibility that it might have been precisely because of the ambiguity of exousiazo that Paul decided to choose authentein. Variety in word choice could be another factor. It is certainly not the case that this word has to have a special nuance simply because it is a hapax legomenon (word used only once).21 The New Testament hardly exhausts the Greek vocabulary of the day.

The noun andros that follows is best to be understood as being the object of both verbs: “I do not permit a woman to teach (a man), or to exercise authority over a man.”22 This has the effect of limiting the sphere in which a woman may not teach or have authority. This verse does not imply that women may never teach anyone. Paul plainly indicates that women may teach other women, as well as children. I think that the church setting of these verses excludes women from church office. However, in other institutions and settings, there is room for gray areas.

The syntax of the two infinitives and the meaning of authentein are closely related. Therefore, I have chosen to address epitrepo (“I permit”) only after both issues had been dealt with. Some egalitarians argue that the present tense of epitrepo seems to indicate that the command is only to be in force for a limited period of time, or that he is only stating his opinion. For the latter interpretation, see Mounce.23 In regard to the former, however, I think there is another, much more likely explanation of the present tense, namely, that Paul does not permit women to teach or to have authority in the churches where he himself ministers, and that Timothy therefore ought to follow his example. Wallace further notes that the generic gune indicates that epitrepo be taken as gnomic, which would imply universality.24 This is, after all, a pastor to pastor epistle. Nothing would be more natural for Paul than to use himself as an example.25

Schreiner, in his essay in Two Views on Women in Ministry, makes a very solid argument against the notion that Paul forbade women to teach based on their being led astray.26 Why would Paul only mention women? Why would men be allowed to teach, who had been led astray, but not women? Second, were all the women of Ephesus led astray by the false teaching? Surely, this is a bit much to swallow. There is no textual indication of a limitation on the command.

As Knight notes,27 the interpretation that Paul is only excluding women teaching if there is not proper oversight is ruled out by Paul’s reiteration of “quietness” (Knight sees hesuchia as “silence”). This would form some sort of inclusio with verse 11. This fact forms another argument for why didaskein and authentein form two separate words. The chiasm goes as follows: a (“in quietness”); b (“not teach”); b (“not have authority”); a (“in quietness”).28 This structure implies that teaching and having authority are two separate concepts.

G. Verse 13
This verse gives argumentation for the preceding verse. However, even this (besides much else) is disputed. Belleville argues that the verse is not causal in force, but explanatory.29 However, she gives no reason whatsoever as to why Paul would give Adam’s created priority as even an explanation of a woman’s remaining quiet. The verse makes much better sense if explained causally, offering the reason why women should learn in silence, and not be allowed to teach men in the church. Belleville objects that verse 15 is against such an interpretation.30 However, verse 15 is concessive in character. Ann Bowman makes the point that Paul, in verses 13-14, is using the rabbinic technique know as summary citation.31 Paul is reminding us of the entire context of Gen 2-3. Adam is the head of the family. He was formed first. Therefore, he deserves some kind of honor.32 This does not imply superiority in kind, but rather priority in time. Belleville offers a specious objection that eita (“then”) means a simple order of time.33 But this is precisely the point! He is the “first-born,” although we should not import the Bible’s understanding of birthright into the passage here, as the first-born got twice as much as the next in line, whereas women are equal sharers in salvation.34 Belleville makes a false dichotomy in her discussion of the creation narrative.35 She says, “Do these narratives (Gen 1-2) put forward a divinely instituted gender hierarchy, as traditionalists claim? Or do they teach a male-female relationship of mutuality, as egalitarians contend? In a sense, the answer is “yes.” Hierarchy does not exclude mutuality. Is this verse a second reason for vv. 11-12, or is it a continuation of the vs. 13 reason? For reasons that will become clear later in the hermeneutics section, I believe that this is a second reason added to verse 13. Note that a “diabolical passive” exists here. Satan is the implied agent of Eve’s deception. Quinn and Wacker note: “In the argument of 1 Timothy 2:14 the serpent has disappeared into the anonymity of the Greek passive participle.”36 This “diabolical passive” contrasts with the “divine passive” given in verse 15. More on the divine passive later. The reason Paul gives for why women should remain quiet in church is that men are to lead. It was this way in the beginning (that is the import of verse 13). The Fall was the result of Eve trying to subvert her husband’s covenantal headship by making the decision apart from him.37 She was mastered by the animal whom she should have mastered. She mastered the one being on the planet she should not have mastered. She subverted and was subverted. Therefore, the punishment was that there would always be a battle for leadership between the man and the woman in marriage (Gen. 3:16). This is hardly placing the full blame of the Fall on the woman as some have said about the complementarian position. I do not think that this passage says that women are more easily deceived than men, though that is the conclusion of most of the history of the complementarian position, and even of a few modern commentators. As Schreiner says, it was a moral failing of Eve, not an intellectual deficiency.38 This verse is a concession, or a correction of a possible misunderstanding. Given the guilt of Eve in the Fall, one might wonder whether or not there is any hope for woman at all. Paul affirms that there is hope. Note the passive voice of “be saved.“ As Knight hints,39 this is probably a divine passive, which is difficult in the extreme to account for on any other interpretation of “child-bearing” than that given below. Through the regaining of her proper role in the world, reaffirming man’s headship in the family, the Christ would come. I interpret “child-bearing” as referring first of all to normal child-bearing, and then to the Child-bearing, that is, the birth of the Messiah. This interpretation has a long and honored tradition.40 It does justice to the fact of the article in front of teknogonias (“childbearing,” which cannot in any case be decisive, but is suggestive), makes sense of “saved,” which otherwise is almost unintelligible and results in an unnatural understanding of the preposition dia, and does justice to the background of Genesis 3. The fact that Genesis 3 is in the background of this passage has escaped most commentators who have dismissed this interpretation (such as Marshall41). If one remembers the curses of Genesis 3, one is certain also to remember the promise of the Seed which would eventually come to destroy the serpent.42 The curse on Eve was a curse on her child-bearing. Paul wants then to remind them that the promised Seed would also come through child-bearing. This interpretation also allows sothesetai (“she will be saved’) to have its normal salvific force without introducing any works righteousness, which, as many commentators have noted, would be contrary to Paul’s theology. The only major objection that can be raised against this interpretation is that current child-bearing would then seem to be irrelevant, now that the Seed has come. However, this is where the insight of Royce Gordon Gruenler is applicable.43 He argues that the Pastoral epistles are missions epistles (pg. 216). He argues this from vv. 1-7, esp. vv. 4-6. The implication for women today, therefore, is that child-bearing is a missionary activity. They are to remember that child-bearing was the instrument that God used to bring the Messiah into the world. See also Bowman’s assertion that “child-bearing” is a synecdoche, a figure of speech in which a part stands for the whole, the whole then being all of child-rearing.44 The “she” at the beginning of the verse refers primarily to Eve, therefore, and secondarily to all women who come after her. That might be the reason why Paul switches from singular to plural in this verse.45 Certainly, Quinn and Wacker’s suggestion that it refers to the husband and wife is rather strange,46 given that child-rearing is not in view. Furthermore, the woman’s “salvation” would then depend on the man’s remaining in faith, love, and holiness.47 I think it more natural to understand the “they” to refer to women. The second part of this verse corrects the possible misunderstanding that might result if one took the “divine passive” too far at the beginning of the verse. One might think that salvation automatically accrues to women. Therefore, Paul stresses these things to ensure a non-automatic view of salvation.48 The verse stresses the necessity of perseverance.

1 See, e.g., Quinn and Wacker, 2000, pp. 191, 199.

2 See BDAG.

3 See especially Schreiner, in Köstenberger/Schreiner/Baldwin, Women in the Church, pg. 117.

4 Mounce, 2000, pg. 119.

5 contra Knight, 1992, pg. 139.

6 Lock, 1924, pg. 32.

7 See Women in the Church, ed. Köstenberger, Schreiner, and Baldwin, 1995, pp. 81-103.

8 See Marshall, 1999, pg. 458.

9 See Two Views on Ministry, ed. Beck, Blomberg, 2001, pp. 124-127, 136.

10 Marshall, 1999, pg. 455.

11 op. cit., pg. 361.

12 Two Views, pg. 127, talking about Matthew 13:13 and Acts 17:24. See Köstenberger/Schreiner/Baldwin, Women in the Church, pg. 83 for counter-examples, and especially pg. 90 for counter-argument.

13 op. cit., pg. 136.

14 ibid, pg. 72-73.

15 See Two Views on Women in Ministry, pg. 53, note 39.

16 See Marshall, 1999, pg. 456, note 149.

17 See NTS 27 (1981) 593-604 for Wilshire’s analysis.

18 Two Views, pg. 125.

19 ibid. pg. 124-125.

20 ibid. pg. 362.

21 As Marshall claims, 1999, pg. 458.

22 See Knight, 1992, pg. 142.

23 Mounce, 2000, pg. 106, commenting on verse 8.

24 Quoted in Mounce, 2000, pg. 122.

25 See Liefeld, 1999, pg. 98.

26 See Two Views, pg. 223.

27 Knight, 1992, pg. 142.

28 See Schreiner, Women in the Church, pg. 124.

29 ibid. pg. 128.

30 op. cit. pg. 128.

31 See Two Views, pp. 288-289.

32 Keener, in Two Views, pg. 63, seems incredulous that such an argument of temporal priority should be cogent for this point. Yes, the first can sometimes be subordinated to the second. However, this is not true in every instance, and does not in any way lessen the force of what Paul says here.

33 op. cit. pg. 129.

34 ibid., pg. 62-63.

35 op. cit. pg. 140.

36 Quinn and Wacker, 2000, pg. 229.

37 Keener, in Two Views, states that the nature of women being easily deceived is the only way that this passage can support the complementarian position of male headship. Such is not the case.

38 op. cit. pg. 143.

39 1992, pg. 147.

40 See Knight, 1992, pp. 146-149, Quinn/Wacker, 2000, pg. 232, and Liefeld, 1999, pp. 101-102.

41 Marshall, 1999, pg. 469.

42 See Bowman, Two Views, pp. 288-289.

43 “The Mission-Lifestyle Setting of 1Timothy 2:8-15.” JETS 41 Fall 1998, pp. 215-238.

44 See Two Views, pg. 290.

45 See Mounce, 2000, pg. 143.

46 Quinn and Wacker, 2000, pg. 233.

47 Mounce, 2000, pg. 147.

48 See Knight, 1991, pg. 147.

Women in the Church- 1 Timothy 2:8-15

I am going to begin a series of posts on this rather important passage. There is so much written on it. I counted the entries in Mounce’s commentary just on this passage, and there are 300, many of them entire books! In my opinion, the very best book is _Women in the Church_, by Kostenberger and Schreiner (editors). This just came out in a second edition, which I have not read. I wrote a paper in seminary on this passage. I thought the reading would never end. But I did manage to read all the most important English commentaries, and all the most important articles, and a few of the monographs. Here is the result of my research (I will post this in several posts, so as to make it manageable). The bibliography will be given with the last post in the series. The footnotes are not hyperlinked (couldn’t get it to work in WordPress), but are in bold italics.

 There are few passages in the New Testament more in dispute than this one. In the bibliography that Mounce has compiled on this passage, there are three hundred and twenty-five entries (eight pages of small print). Cultural issues and the relative obscurity of verses 14-15 have caused this deluge of ink. Through an examination of the exegesis of the passage and a further examination of the hermeneutical issues surrounding the exegesis, I will attempt to prove that Paul had a universally binding application in view regarding a prohibition of women teaching Christian doctrine to or having spiritual authority over men in a church setting.

 I. Exegesis
A. The Flow of I Timothy as a whole
The dispute about Pauline authorship need not concern us much here, as it has little bearing on the precise meaning of our passage. However, inasmuch as canonical authority rests on the Pastoral Epistles (PE), we want to affirm its canonical status. I personally will assume that Paul wrote the PE. The next question (and a very important one) is the reason for the letter. False teachers had infested the Ephesian church. They were interested in long genealogies (1:4), myths, speculations, had erroneous conceptions about the law (1:6-7), and as a result were leading people astray from the truth (especially, it seems, some of the women, such as the widows). The corrective to these evils is a straight proclamation of the truth of the Gospel (3:14-16), and correct behavior in the church of God (which would presumably be antithetical to the false teaching: in 1:10, Paul makes the explicit connection between right doctrine and right living). These are the things that we can know for certain about the false teaching. Anything else goes beyond the scriptural evidence and must be weighed very carefully before being allowed as evidence. See more in the post on hermeneutics (forthcoming). Behavior in the church setting and the truth of Gospel in the context of false teaching is the subject of I Timothy.

B. Immediate Context
 I have found that the immediate context has been almost universally neglected by advocates of the egalitarian position, and by a good many of the proponents of the complementarian position as well. This is all the more startling given the οὖν (oun, meaning “therefore”) in the postpositive position in verse 8. One might have expected the egalitarian position to take more notice of the universals in verses 4-5. One might also have expected the complementarian position to take more notice of the qualifications for elders immediately following.1 Therefore, we will not ignore either context.

In 2:1, Paul makes it plain that prayer is his driving concern for the first part of this chapter. Four different words for prayer or components of prayer form the first verse, which is then expanded to avoid cliquish praying for only those with whom one has agreement. This could be directed against the false teachers, who might have been encouraging people to pray only for those who are close to themselves, thus putting a wedge in the body of Christ. Against the false teachers’ insistence on knowledge outside the Gospel, Paul reaffirms the one true way to God, which is through Jesus Christ, the faithful and true Mediator. If this fact would be remembered by the members of the Ephesian church, then it would follow that the men would cease their wrangling and their angry arguments. And so, we have a natural progression into verse 8.

The passage immediately following, in 3:1-7, deals with the qualifications for elders. This passage is also much in dispute. However, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that elders must be men. This is evident from verse 2: μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα, “mias gunaikos andra.” In order to be a husband, one must be a man. Vern Poythress argues that male leadership in the home requires male leadership in the church. He is one of the few who note the connection of 3:1-7 to 2:9-15.2 Plainly, there are role distinctions within the unity of the body of Christ. The relationship of the role of men and women to Galatians 3:28 will be handled in the hermeneutics post.

C. Structure of I Timothy 2:8-15.
 Verses 8-10 have to do with behavior in the church, presumably in the worship service, but also having broader implications. Verse 8 deals with men, and verses 9-10 deal with women. Mounce notes that usually the division occurs between verse 9 and verse 10, because of gender issues. However, the disturbance in the church is the more likely candidate for division in the passage.3 In verse 11, the subject shifts slightly. This is indicated from the shift to singular “woman” from the plural in verses 9-10, as well as the shift from praying to learning. Verses 11-12 indicate what a woman must not do, and verses 13-14 indicate the reason(s) why. Verse 15 is a concession to the possible misunderstanding and alarm that might have been created by Paul attributing the fall of the human race solely to women. More on this later.

D. Verses 9-10
 One of the main questions here is whether Paul is inferring prayer as the context of women’s behavior in these verses, or whether the men are the ones praying, while the women adorn themselves properly. We know that women are allowed to pray in the worship service (I Cor. 11:5), but is that the issue here? Specifically, is proseuchesthai (“to pray”) to be understood from verse 8, despite the already existing complementary infinitive (“to adorn”) in vs. 9? Clark (citing Meyer) indicates that to understand another infinitive is grammatically impossible.4 However, as noted above, the structure of the context indicates that prayer was a major concern of Paul in this chapter. The “proton panton” (“first of all”) of verse 1 indicates that prayer was of paramount importance. It is then more than likely that the “therefore” of vs. 8 refers back to verse 1. This adds weight to the idea that prayer should be understood for the women as well. The very fact that the infinitive “to pray” is not in verse 9 could indicate Paul’s sensitivity to this grammatical issue. The “likewise” at the beginning of verse 9 indicates at the very least that what he says about the men in church will be paralleled by this statement about women. I think that it is safe to conclude, therefore, that prayer is to be understood with regard to women, though larger concerns are not out of the question.5 The verse then describes the manner in which they are to behave in church, with special regard to prayer.

The English Standard Version translates the second half of verse 9 with admirable literalness here. Braided hair was an excuse to show off various valuable gems and gold jewelry (so most commentators). Therefore, braided hair is to be taken with both gold and pearls. Costly attire is then something separate. This corresponds with the connectives used (kai…e…e…e).6 The point is that women are not to show off. Marshall puts it well: “The picture is of a flashy luxury that is out of place in sinners seeking the mercy of God.”7 As many commentators note, this passage does not forbid the use of jewelry. It forbids the ostentatious showing of such jewelry.8 Verses 9-10 have the same structure as the statement, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” The statement does not negate the importance of sacrifice, but rather relativises sacrifice in regard to mercy. In the same way, Paul wants the women to strive for true adornment, which consists of good works coupled with modesty and self-control, not for the merely outward adornment of jewelry.

1. One who does is Mounce, 2000, pg 118.
2. See Piper/Grudem, 1991, pp. 233-247, esp. pg. 238; See also Blomberg, Two Views on Women in Ministry, 2001, pg. 364.
3. Mounce, 2000, pg. 103.
4. See Clark, 1983, pg. 43.
5. See Lock, 1924, pg. 29.
6. See, e.g., Mounce, 2000, pg. 114.
7. Marshall, 1999, pg. 450.
8. Knight, 1992, pg. 136.

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