Which of the two did the will of his father?

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God,’ you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?' Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament. -Soren Kierkegaard (with thanks to Stephen Baker)

One commenter writes: "Taken to its logical conclusion, [God's creation order] would effectively end property and business ownership for women, since property management and business activity require authority over others, including men. If that were the case, we get into a hairy mess of inheritance rights..."

Tim responds: Men, let's make this absolutely clear.

God created Adam first, and then Eve. Anyone want to argue with that? Well then, let’s move on.

The Holy Spirit said the significance of this order of creation is that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men. Everyone still on board? Next.

All through the New Testament we see the application the Holy Spirit made of this creation order to the Church as it was founded. Also to the home. What we don't see is Him applying this creation order to the Roman Empire. But then, Scripture doesn’t tell us how to do much of anything when it comes to the civil authority, except to submit to his authority.

So today, the world is full of men who take this absence of New Testament application of the creation order to the secular world as license to cast off the  creation order in any place other than those explicitly addressed by the Holy Spirit.

But what on earth happened to the creation order?

Well, here’s what happened. Christians became sullen children, resentful of their Heavenly Father’s plan and the demands it makes of us in our post-feminist world...

And being sullen and resentful, the more bodacious among us didn’t hesitate to deny the order entirely. Others of us, still possessing a sense of shame, struck a middle course. We denied the creation order but obeyed the specific commands. Yet oh, how few and far between are any specific commands when once we begin to listen to academics who traffic in exegesis, hermeneutics, and text criticism.

Keep in mind that the legalist is never looking for places to grow his obedience.

So what started out as woman being prohibited from teaching and exercising authority over man because Adam was created first, and then Eve, turns into a woman being able to do anything a non-ordained man can do.

Such godliness! Such submission! Such sensitivity to the Holy Spirit! Such reverence for the Word of God! Such joyful embracing of God’s created order! Such holiness.

No. Rather, such stingy, penurious, glum, sullen, willfull, resentful, bitter, legalism.

The mother tells her son, “Don’t eat any more cookies because we’re having dinner soon and I don’t want you spoiling your appetite.”

The son puts two pieces of bread in the toaster.

The mother asks him, “Son, did you hear what I just said? Who’s that toast for?”

“For me, Mom. I’m hungry.”

“Did you hear me or not? I said you weren’t to eat anything before dinner,” scolds his mother.

“No you didn’t,” protests the son. “You just said I couldn’t have any more cookies. You didn’t say anything about toast!”

“Uh, did you hear me say I didn’t want you to spoil your appetite,” responds the mother.

“Sure,” says the son; “But you only told me not to eat any more cookies. And I didn’t!”

So it goes.

The father, walking into the kitchen and hearing this exchange, ought to have at his son. And at the center of his discipline ought to be his finding his son guilty of blatant disobedience.

So those today who make a big show of being complementarian while denying any significance to sexuality outside the church and the home in matters of authority are rebels against God.

Yes, they talk loudly about joyfully submitting to God’s wonderful plan for manhood and womanhood; they make a big show of submission to God’s plan, pointing to their own scrupulous observance of male-only eldership and male headship in the home; but watch what they actually do instead of what they say, and the gig is up.

Their daughters have died in Iraq dressed in a man’s military uniform. Their mothers sit on the board of deacons next to unordained men. Their aunts teach a Wednesday night Bible study attended by hundreds of men. Their grandmothers just love Anne Graham Lotz and Carolyn Custis James. Their wives do the seminar on women in the church held each quarter for newcomers. Their session meetings aren’t really over until the elders have gone home after the meeting, told their wives what decisions were made, and their wives have signed off on those decisions.

And we claim to be in submission to the Word of God?

It’s no doubt true that the application of this creation order is a ticklish thing in secular society, the home, and the Church. But with this as with every other matter of Christian discipleship and sanctification, it’s not that God’s Word has been tried and found difficult, but that it’s been found difficult and left untried.

So brothers and sisters, shall we repent of our faithflessness and return to God that He might heal our nation, families, and churches? Or will we continue to defy Him, sinning that grace may abound?

Every time I write on this subject, I do so as a repenting child of the sixties and seventies who, with my wife, used to be in rebellion against God in these matters. Together, we invite you to join us in our repentance, and then to turn around and help others discover and walk this beautiful, God-honoring path.

Comments

I'm typically 100% in agreement on this topic. And I think I am here, too. But can you explain what might be wrong with a women in the church seminar? I'm not sure I follow.

Take one of the most sensitive areas of church life in a congregation living squarely in the middle of a society that absolutely hates the biblical doctrine of sexuality, have the pastor delegate to his wife the task of explaining that doctrine to men and women new to the church in a two or three hour seminar on stuff like why the church doesn't have women pastors and elders, and I'm hoping it's clear why I consider this one more example of denying the principle while copping a posture of obeying it--the son who says "yes" but doesn't.

Matt,

Is there something fundamentally wrong with a Women in the Church seminar led by the pastor's wife? No, at least probably not.

But is it surrounded by problems in a church that is surround by hatred for the Biblical teaching on the matter? Well, yes. I chuckle inside whenever I hear the "oh, but the culture's different now, we have to apply the teaching differently" argument; technically, I agree, I just think our witness to this culture should emphasize Biblical gender roles MORE than would be necessary in a culture that was at peace with God's will in the matter.

I've seen many teachers who (thank God) stand firmly against ordaining women, but (alas) when they preach on it they look for all the world like they'd give BOTH arms to not have to preach against it. Not only must we believe what God has said, not only must we teach it, but we must not apologize for it.

That said, I imagine it would be possible to have a "WIC" seminar that dealt with the issue well in today's environment, but it'd probably be a back-door revival for the new members.

Gotta go,

Keith

Every time I write on this subject, I do so as a repenting child of the sixties and seventies who, with my wife, used to be in rebellion against God in these matters. Together, we invite you to join us in our repentance, and then to turn around and help others discover and walk this beautiful, God-honoring path

"The heresies that men leave are hated most"

(John Donne, via C.S. Lewis)

Matt,

It seems the that some churches follows the old pattern of only Jews can make jokes about Jews, only Mexicans can make jokes about Mexicans, and only women can teach on women submitting. Such churches are often insulating themselves against charges of misogyny, making one think they have something to be ashamed of. Men and momen sitting under the Bible teaching of women would be prohibited by 1 Tim 1:1-15, even if it is a seminar and not a "worship service". The real question, Matt, is "Is it possible for a woman to teach on Scripture without having spiritual authority over the men listening?" This is a great question to wrestle over...

Before I finished reading the quote on how easy it is to understand the Bible, I knew that this was going to be another post about women in authority. You know that I stand firm in this area, and that I have to defend this position on a constant basis, but what I have come to find is this: people who don't hold the complimentarian view lump I Timothy 2 with such sections of the New Testament that suggest about how women should have their heads covered, and they shouldn't braid their hair, and other areas, which clearly state things that we don't do today. I find that highly foolish and ignornant, but that doesn't change the fact that they still do it, and throw the word "culture" in my face as if I Timothy only applied to the people of a specific time and place, but today can be washed away and ignored.

Whatever the case, I think that the contents of this blog would instantly brushed aside by people who I feel are usually willing to listen. I just don't think that they would look at it as a strong argument.

>Their mothers sit on the board of deacons next to unordained men.

"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant [diakonos] of the church at Cenchreae."

Romans 16:1

Brady--what degree of confidence do you have that diakonos in Rom 16:1 refers to the office of deacon and does not have a customary sense such as "helper"? For myself, I have very little.

Brady, the key point was not that women are serving as deaconesses of the church, but that they serve alongside non-ordained men. Those in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, know this is a ploy to bypass our "Book of Church Order" which forbids deaconesses.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear.

As for Phoebe being a servant of the church, throughout history the church has had many servants who didn't hold the office of Servant, deacons who didn't hold the office of Deacon. Diakonos is often used in the New Testament to refer to function rather than office.

So do I believe in deaconesses? I've already written on this, saying "yes." What I don't believe in is confusing the function and office, or conflating deacons and deaconesses.

I am very familiar with the PCA.

I understand your interpretation, and appreciate it. Personally, I still think it is too ambiguous to make a defining statement as the PCA has done.

To help me understand. I need a translation issue to be resolved. I've been told that the same greek word for "man" is the same word for "husband" and how we translate the greek into english depends on the context. And the same for the word woman/wife.

Thus the following question about 1 Timothy 2; Could the verse be really saying that Paul is not permitting a "wife" to be authoritative/teaching over her "husband". If this is the case then women could be in places of authority over men (eg. business) that do not involve their husband? Is this possible???

Alex,

You wrote: "I think that the contents of this blog would instantly brushed aside by people who I feel are usually willing to listen. I just don't think that they would look at it as a strong argument."

The value of the Kierkegaard quote is that it points out the rebellion of our heart when we choose not to submit to the Bible on matters that are clear. There is a clear distinction being made when the Bible appeals to the order of creation. Choosing to lump that passage together with other passages of Scripture that may or may not have such indelible import is an attempt to avoid dealing with the implications of this specific clear teaching. Reductio ad absurdem, an argument based on absurdity, is never an acceptable approach to Scripture. It's a cop out that puts our wisdom above God's. Otherwise, we'd have to throw the whole Bible out the window.

When we live among rebels it is very easy to interpret those positive aspects of their behavior as godliness, and so find ourselves compromising not only in our doctrinal commitments, but in the strength of our witness. It's much easier to maintain the status quo, allowing those around us to have an appearance of godliness while denying its power. Or to become cynical, saying, "It just doesn't work... can it really be worth the trouble?"

But you, dear brother, have to be willing to continue to draw that hard line, and to not grow weary in standing for the truth. This is the Gospel. And if they are truly willing to listen and have a spirit of submission to God's Word, they will hear this teaching.

With much love,

Certainly not in a Church setting Ian. One would assume that the husband would attend the same church as the wife.

The post strikes me as being a bit of "straining a gnat" - I hope we avoid swallowing the camel.

I told this story elsewhere, but I'll post it here, too (with appropriate apologies).

In the fall of the year my son turned five, he joined me outside to rake the leaves with his plastic rake. I was exceedingly proud of him, as he kept with the task until all the leaves were bagged. It took almost three hours -- impressive commitment for a five-year-old. (wish I could have that kind of enthusiasm and cooperation from him now at age fourteen! ;-)

At about the two-hour mark, Nathanael's older sister opened the front door and disdainfully called out to her little brother:

"You're doing it wrong!"

And, indeed, she was right. In spite of gentle recommendation, Nathanael had both palms facing the same way on the broom handle.

In fact, she could have claimed, with reasonable accuracy, that her brother was actually *slowing* the task rather than contributing to the leaf-gathering: sometimes in my way; sometimes spreading the leaves more than collecting.

But then, in mid-sentence of her harangue, she chirped,

"Oh, it is cold out here!"

Upon which she promptly slammed the door and went to watch television in the warm basement.

Doing it wrong or not, at occasional cross-purposes or not, this father gave full credit to his dear son when he announced to his mother,

"Daddy and *I* raked *all* the leaves."

I wouldn't have traded his precious company and "help" for an army of mechanical rakers "doing it right."

And I suspect that our Heavenly Father, in his great mercy, will be gracious to his children attempting to help him with his ministry of reconciliation -- even when they might be "doing it wrong."

Doug,

I loved your story. And I think that Tim would happily identify himself with your son. Any time he picks up his plastic rake on this issue of sexuality there is a chorus of "You're doing it wrong" from those that have no intention of doing anything.

In fact, the comments on this post illustrate the point quite well.

>I think that Tim would happily identify himself with your son.

And the Hebrew midwives.

Tim can identify with whom he pleases. But God gets to decide which task He considers important ;-)

Same children, different story:

When my children were young, I made plenty of mistakes as a parent – many that I might never know about! But one of the things that I tried to do (and don't believe was a mistake) was to create a sense of order in the house. And, in order to have order, you need to have orders – or rules. And one of those rules that I tried to impose on my children was one of the rules that I had grown up with: no food in the living room. The last thing Mom wanted was to find months-old cookies slowly turning green under the sofa cushions. So imagine how I felt one day after dinner. I was shuttling between the kitchen and the dining room, putting things away and preparing the dishes for washing. And on one of my shuttles, I walked into the dining room, and there in the living room was my youngest daughter and her little brother Nathanael at it, tooth and nail. Nathanael, even though he is younger, was a bit of a brute, and sure enough, he was on top.

“Nathanael!” I shouted, “Get off your sister right away.”

Well, I’m sure he didn’t obey me “right away” but we can pretend he did for this story. Up jumped Nathanael, eyes blazing, little fist extended toward his father in triumph.

And as he opened his fist, he explained the incident with a sense of supreme (and sincere) justification:

“Meg had a cookie in the living room!”

And there, falling between his fingers, were the crumbs of a jam-covered, cream-filled cookie. The evidence was incontrovertible: as my gaze traveled from my son to my guilt-stricken daughter, I could see the trail of jam and cream ground into the carpet.

Ah. The perils of law-making. As you consider the highly “ethical” instincts of my son, let me highlight a few salient points. First, the reason behind – in fact the whole point of - the no-cookies-in-the-living-room rule was precisely to avoid jam and cream ground into the carpet. Second, my son momentarily forgot (once again) the don’t-beat-on-your-sister rule – in spite of its reinforcement ad nauseum. These small details are either hilarious or heart-breaking, depending on your relationship to the children in question. But when the hilarious and the heart-breaking coincide, there is often a lesson in it.

Isn’t it amazing how people, even well-meaning people, especially well-meaning Christian people, take rules, set one against the other without noticing, and in so doing manage to break both the more important rule and the reason for the rules in the first place?

In this context, let me remind us all that, if the question of the authority relationship between man and woman is a rule, a law, something having to do with the letter rather than the Spirit, we must say the same about divorce and sodomy. All three of them fall or stand together, being God's order established in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall.

In every case, the answer we give to the casuists must be the same as the one our Lord gave the Sadducees: "But from the beginning it was not so."

Doug, it's a charming story, but the fact that your son ground the cookie into the carpet does not at all mean that he shouldn't have been trying to get the cookie out of the room in the first place.

In reading your previous story and Eric and Tim's responses to it, it seems clear to me that you meant it to say "Well we don't always get it right, and I can deal with having some zealous committed women helping/leading because it's better than nothing right? It's not quite what God intended, but the spirit is right because they genuinely want to serve and help, and those who point out the error of this without lifting a finger themselves to help in the work should just shut up....." I may have misread you, and I hope I have. Please correct me if I'm way off base...

>I can deal with having some zealous committed women helping/leading because it's better than nothing right?

My dear brother Andrew, your summary statement, regardless of its accuracy in Mr. Peters' case, undoubtedly is accurate of man, and it reminds me of Calvin's remark concerning Deborah and Huldah:

"(C)ertain women had sometimes been so gifted that the singular blessing of God was conspicuous in them, and made it manifest that they had been raised up (into civil leadership over men) by the providence of God, either because He willed by such examples to condemn the supineness of men, or thus show more distinctly His own glory. I here instanced Huldah and Deborah." John Calvin, Letter DXXXVIII to William Cecil, in "Selected Works of John Calvin: Tracts and Letters," ed. Henry Beveridge & Jules Bonnet, vol. 7, (Philadelphia, 1860), p. 46.

In our time, though, I fear there are few supine men who recognize God's condemnation or give praise for His more distinct glory.

Tim comments "we must say the same about divorce and sodomy". Apparently not: in Acts 15, it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to the Apostles to draw a line between some "laws" and others.

"From the beginning," Doug; "from the beginning." Acts 15 is not the place to go to understand the application of creation ordinances to the New Covenant. This is quite basic, brother.

Andrew also comments "it seems clear to me that you meant..."

One's interpretation of a story (or of a scripture passage, for that matter) reveals a great deal about the interpreter...

Let me tell you precisely what I meant by the story:

- God has different tasks that He wants to achieve

- Some are more important to Him than others

- He gets to decide which tasks are important

- He gets to decide which rules are significant to the achievement of those tasks

- Being human, we are susceptible to have our own ideas on these matters

- Being human, our ideas are often not precisely in keeping with the thoughts of our Creator

- It is clever of us to exercise humility as we apply the revelation that we receive to others of God's children

That's it; that's all :-)

>One's interpretation of a story (or of a scripture passage, for that matter) reveals a great deal about the interpreter...

Let me take a stab at it.

Cast of Characters:

Doug -- God

Son -- Apostle Paul

Daughter -- Ephesian Women

The Plot:

Doug has a task: keep the floor clean -- God has a task: Demonstrate His absolute authority as Father through the authority structures in creation

Doug has a rule: No cookies in living room -- God has a rule: Woman shall not exercise authority over man

The Play:

Son pummels sister for cookie infraction. Son doesn't know that pummeling sister is not an acceptable way to teach her the rule. Doug now has the opportunity to tell son that the enforcement of the cookie rule isn't as important as enforcing the no pummeling rule because the no pummeling rule is a better safeguard against carpet stains -- Paul tells the Ephesian women "no". Paul doesn't know that telling the Ephesian women "no" is not an acceptable way to teach them. God now has the opportunity to tell Paul that the enforcement of the women not exercising authority rule is not as important as the not saying "no" rule because the not saying "no" rule is a better safeguard against rebellion against authority.

The Moral:

Always remember -- Doug is playing God.

Do I have it right?

Doug,

Of course the interpretation reveals a great deal about the interpreter. But so does the story about the storyteller. Probably even more so.

The bottom line for me is this: I often find myself trying to do things my own way, both in the church, with my business and in every other area of my life. I'm a fairly pragmatic person, and of course, from that point of view, it doesn't matter so much who does the work or who holds the authority as long as the job gets done. This is a mindset grounded in sight not faith, and it's something we need to be repenting of ourselves, and calling others to repent of as well.

I agree that God alone gets to choose what's important and what's not, but this issue is addressed explicitly in Scripture over and over which would lead me to believe that it's... PRETTY IMPORTANT.

The Kierkegaard quote nails it with "If I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?" It's too late for that. We can't play dumb. Now that we've seen, we need to act accordingly, and act by faith.

"the not saying "no" rule is a better safeguard against rebellion against authority."

Beutifully put, David.

Dave--I'm not sure about the "Doug is playing God" part, but the rest of that is dead spot on, brother. Dead on. And, really, Tim's been pretty tame in comparison to the Apostle Paul. Tim hasn't said a word about Eve's deception.

Eric says David C. puts it beautifully. David T. claims David C. is dead spot on. I guess that settles it. Maybe one of you fellows could explain to me what David C. is getting at. He seems to be terribly muddled about a very simple story if you ask me. I certainly never entertained such peculiar thinking any time I ever thought about it!

Curiosity compels me to ask: how do you gentlemen minister to childless women in the light of 1 Timothy 2:15?

While I've never had the opportunity to "play God" before, David, the "least of the Lord's brothers" shoes clearly fit - does that count?

If I don't respond, it is because I'm helping with Awana at the church tonight, (along with a number of women, of course) but will look forward to the wisdom I'll receive tomorrow.

Doug,

If Tim doesn't respond it's because he spent the evening with family and friends honoring the life of a childless, unmarried woman who was a mother to us all.

Jacob: "there are no coincidences" :-)

While I don't doubt that "Surely not, Lord! (Acts 10)" is an appropriate response to women in ministry, and that "from the beginning" is an important principle, I wonder...

The Holy Spirit's ministry was sufficient for Peter to re-think his position on the law (granted, he didn't have the benefit of centuries of Protestant scholarship, but Kierkegaard has already addressed that).

While I'm not arguing that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is sufficient to welcome women into ministry, I am suggesting that it might give us pause in our campaign against it. I can't help but think that the impressive moral and intellectual community represented by this blog would be better exercised on the "more important matters of the law (Matt 23)"

>The Holy Spirit's ministry was sufficient for Peter to re-think his position on the law...

>While I'm not arguing that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is sufficient to welcome women into ministry, I am suggesting that it might give us pause in our campaign against it.

What "ministry of the Holy Spirit sufficient to welcome women into ministry" are you talking about?

How is it possible that you think there is any comparison between the sending of Peter to the gentiles and women exercising authority over men?

Have you had a vision?

Have you seen a sheet covered with women lowered from the heavens followed by a voice saying "Arise, Doug, kill and eat."

>I can't help but think that the impressive moral and intellectual community represented by this blog would be better exercised on the "more important matters of the law (Matt 23)

What makes you think that obedience to God in this matter isn't one of the weightier matters of the law?

Even if it were not, what from Matthew 23:23 excuses you from obeying it?

(Matthew 23:23)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others."

Let's be clear: I'm not a fan of *anyone* "exercising authority" in my church. But I *am* a fan of folks "exercising ministry". Let's please not conflate the two concepts.

In Acts 10:47, Peter says, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." The ministry of the Holy Spirit was the key to Peter's acceptance of the gentiles. The dream was a setup - for both Peter, and for the church for which it was recorded: we don't need more dreams, Dave.

The thing that makes me think that obedience to God in this matter is not one of the weightier matters of the law is simply that my Lord itemized those weightier matters: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. I'm guessing that Jesus was referring to *personal* justice, mercy, and faithfulness - do we risk betting otherwise?

It suddenly occurs to me that I might be the only one in this conversation that goes to a church in which the only actual authority is scripture. In keeping with the teaching of Christ, our elders (who are all men, if you must know ;-) ) are very much servants of the church, as are the staff. The elders often disagree, but decisions are not made in those circumstances. It is a wonderful place, really.

Blessings,

Well... if you're not a fan of people exercising authority in the church I guess that settles the whole issue. I'm glad that your elders don't make decisions when they disagree otherwise people would always be getting bent out of shape and THAT sure couldn't be good for the church. Whenever I find myself getting intense about doctrinal stuff I find it helpful to remind myself of this verse from Titus 4.

"Suggest these things; encourage and minister with all humility. Let no one take offense at you."

//[sarcasm off]

>The thing that makes me think that obedience to God in this matter is not one of the weightier matters of the law is simply that my Lord itemized those weightier matters: justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Justice, mercy and faithfulness are all concepts that stand or fall on the strength of their foundation, authority. They do not exist apart from it. Reject authority and you reject justice, mercy, and faithfulness, all. It's ludicrous to claim scripture as an authority and then deny it's clear teaching concerning that very issue.

"If the scripture teaches us "Thou shalt not steal", one should not need a personal revelation to ascertain whether the spirit will lead one to steal or not. In fact, any 'spirit' who leads someone to contradict the teaching of canonical scripture is exhibiting clear signs of not being the one Holy Spirit."

- Stephen B. Clark in "Man and Woman in Christ"

I am grateful for Kamilla and Jody (who I presume to be women) for their exercise of authority over me (who is certainly a man). I see that they have learned their lessons well. Off to church.

Actually, Jody is quite the man. Ask his wife.

"The elders often disagree, but decisions are not made in those circumstances. It is a wonderful place, really."

Is your marriage like this Doug? If you and your wife disagrees you both just put the issue aside until you see 100% eye to eye? Sounds like a horrible place, really.

@Andrew: does your Bible also have the verse "he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth."

@Jody: (with my apologies regarding my mishandling of your name) We must be very careful when we tell God which of his laws are the most important. My Lord's choices were "loving God" and "loving my neighbor as myself."

@Kamilla: please interpret Peter's dream for me in the light of what Stephen says. As far as he knew, his dream was contradicting the teaching of canonical scripture.

@Michael: You might recall that Christ gave his life for the church. That is your calling as a husband. It hurts at first (i.e., seems "horrible"), but the resurrection more than makes up for it.

>I'm not a fan of *anyone* "exercising authority" in my church.

(2 Peter 2:9, 10)

9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,

10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.

:-(

>my Lord itemized those weightier matters: justice, mercy, and faithfulness

>my Lord's choices were "loving God" and "loving my neighbor as myself

So, which is the most important Doug? You have not listened to Jody's godly instruction.

(2 Peter 3:15, 16)

15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,

16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

:-(

(Proverbs 27:22)

22 Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his folly will not depart from him.

I will pound you no longer.

... What we don't see is Him applying this creation order to the Roman Empire. But then, Scripture doesn’t tell us how to do much of anything when it comes to the civil authority, except to submit to his authority

I can appreciate the Baylys' frustrations in these matters, but it is not clear to me that we can do anything about women in civil or secular authority - or in their own businesses for that matter? - besides teach against it. They could possibly tell Christian women who are in leadership over men in the workplace, say that they should not be there.

It should also be noted that the Bible says, "do not go beyond what is written" (1 Cor 4:6) ... because all I'm seeing at the moment is the Baylys' criticism of what they call the legalism of some people, but no idea from them as to what could be said and done.

"@Michael: You might recall that Christ gave his life for the church. That is your calling as a husband. It hurts at first (i.e., seems "horrible"), but the resurrection more than makes up for it."

I do recall and don't see how me giving life like Christ means me cowardly abdicating my call to headship. Connect some dots for me.

If I restrict myself to linguistic matters and stories, may I join in?

David T.

Maybe I could explain that Phoebe was both a διακονος and a προστατις. it appears that you may possibly have confused deacon with "help."

The first, deacon, is the masculine term, there was no feminine term, deaconess, at the time. She was either the servant of the church, or a deacon. Since this is given as a title, it could appear to mean that she was a deacon of that church. But, of course, I understand that here it will be interpreted in a certain way. I will refrain from commenting on this.

The second, prostatιs, was sometimes translated "help." However, in the King James version, it was translated more correctly as "succourer" someone who helps someone else who is in trouble.

This word is listed in the Liddell Scott Lexicon only as the feminine form of prostatês, which is listed as "chief" "ruler" or "leader" and "protector" "patron" "guardian". It could also be one who "stands before" God as a suppliant, for a man, that would be the leader of the sacred service. It was also used of Christ, our prostatês. It comes from the word in Greek "to go before" or "lead."

So, in the light of this, Phoebe is called a "patron" or "benefactress" since this has seemed to translators over the centuries the most appropriate way to translate the word when it refers to a woman. She seems to have had either a position or wealth, which enabled her to aid Paul. Some women were economic patrons at that time, and participated in the life of the city financially.

Prostatês Here is the LSJ entry. I just want to offer the some assistance. Scroll down to see the entry. Phoebe was the feminine for this. It is up to the translator to interpret this and say what an appropriate English word would be.

Suzanne,

Not to be snarky, but if you are only here to comment on linguistic matters, I have some for you. Liddell-Scott lexicon is a lexicon of classical Greek (Attic), not New Testament Greek (Koine). While it can be useful in doing word studies of the New Testament (seeing the evolution of a word's use and meaning in the Greek language--called a "diachronic" reading), it is somewhat academically irresponsible to just cut and paste from Liddell-Scott and say that is what Paul meant.

If you want to get a better understanding of the Koine meaning (what the word meant in Paul's day--called a "synchronic" reading), try BDAG, Louw & Nida, or even Thayer. That would give a better sense of what Paul meant in his usage of the word.

That being said, here's the entry from Louw & Nida "35.13 προστατις, ιδος f: (derivative of προσταμαι ‘to be active in helping,’ 35.12) a woman who is active in helping — ‘helper, patroness (in the sense of one engaged in supporting an individual or endeavor).’ γαρ αυτη προστατις πολλων εγενηθη και εμου αυτου ‘for she herself has been a helper to many people and also to me’ Ro 16:2."

Sometimes Liddell-Scott and Koine lexicons will line up well, here they do not. The sense is not "chief" "ruler" or "leader" and "protector" "patron" "guardian". It could also be one who "stands before" God as a suppliant, for a man, that would be the leader of the sacred service. It was also used of Christ, our prostatês. It comes from the word in Greek "to go before" or "lead."

Not trying to be mean about it or anything. But if we are going to make arguments like this from the Greek, we better be sure that we are talking about the Greek Paul used and not the Greek that classical authors writing centuries before Paul would have used.

I have to say, I'm with Tim on this one (and many other ones for that matter). Let us adorn this doctrine that is difficult for our culture by the beauty of our righteousness and our submission to God's Word in this matter.

In case my formatting was not conducive to clarity, I am saying that the sense of προστατις in Romans 16 is that Phoebe was a helper or supporter of the cause of the Roman church (perhaps financially?), not a leader in it.

The word evolved in meaning in the Greek over time, much like the words "gay" and "gentle" have changed in English over the centuries.

Todd,

I did not say "that is what Paul meant."

I said,

She seems to have had either a position or wealth, which enabled her to aid Paul.

I quoted from the KJV and then from the LSJ. I do not have the BDAG in electronic form. Usually one should refer to two or three lexicons.

The main concern with the Lexicons of Koine is that they quote a Bible translation as evidence. They record the translation of a word, as found in a Bible translation, and then put that into the lexicon as a meaning.

Evidence is usually considered to be the way that the term is used in literature *other than* the Bible. So the LSJ is generally respected for this. I think you will find that most theologians respect it and do not discount it. I think you will also find that the LSJ does include Hellenistic Greek as well as classical. It is not restricted to Attic Greek.

I am sorry if you misunderstood, but I think that "succourer" or "patroness" is quite fair, although not the only option. This is from the ESV and the KJV.

My primary concern was that David T. seemed to think that diakonos meant "help."

I really was trying to provide some help with that. I stand by my original statement,

She seems to have had either a position or wealth, which enabled her to aid Paul.

I really did not mean to offend but just offer some information which might not be immediately obvious.

Here is a description of the LSJ,

The world's most authoritative dictionary of ancient Greek

Indispensable for biblical and classical studies alike, the world's most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of ancient Greek is now available with the Revised Supplement integrated into the body of the text for the first time ever. The publication of the Revised Supplement in 1996 marked a major event in classical scholarship and was the culmination of 13 years' painstaking work overseen by a committee appointed by the British Academy, involving the cooperation of many experts from around the world.

The Main Dictionary: Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (9th edition 1940), is the central reference work for all scholars of ancient Greek authors and texts discovered up to 1940, from the 11th century BC to the Byzantine Period. The early Greek of authors such as Homer and Hesiod, Classical Greek, and the Greek Old and New Testaments are included. Each entry lists not only the definition of a word, but also its irregular inflections, and quotations from a full range of authors and sources to demonstrate usage.

Suzanne--You summarized by saying "So, in the light of this, Phoebe is called a "patron" or "benefactress" since this has seemed to translators over the centuries the most appropriate way to translate the word when it refers to a woman. She seems to have had either a position or wealth, which enabled her to aid Paul. Some women were economic patrons at that time, and participated in the life of the city financially."

I think that's the right way to take it, also, which is why I suggested "helper" as an initial alternative to "Deacon."

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