Biblical roles of Men and Women

Captain, we’re drifting into dangerous waters! All hands on deck! Sound the alarm!

Perhaps nothing differentiates “modern” (read that: liberal) and traditional Christianity more than the role of men and women. Those promoting a modern social justice version discard parts of the Bible not fitting their position, frequently by arguing those parts have historical meaning only. Does that make sense? Can we pick and choose what is God’s Word and what isn’t? If so, how can that be done, and who gets to make the rules (since it isn’t God)?

Those minefields present themselves to the social justice liberal redefining Christianity in their image (only using parts of the Bible) instead of God’s.

The traditional view the church held for almost 2,000 years was women could not hold one position in church: senior pastor; discarding orthodox theology only recently developed. One recent article by Sara VanScoy appeared in Sojourners magazine (the magazine of Jim Wallis promoting the social justice version of Christianity).

The prophet Joel said that when the Spirit comes, sons and daughters would prophesy (that is, preach). … Any sort of gender ordering is the result of fallen humanity. When churches regard women as second-class citizens, they are espousing an ideology that is less than God’s ideal!

First, prophesying and preaching (teaching) aren’t the same thing. Second, Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:5 already mentions women prophesying in the church, so Joel and Paul don’t have any disagreement between them. Third she claims women as second-class citizens, an idea with no Biblical support. Where in the Bible did it say women are second-class? She’s arguing against something which doesn’t exist (at least in the Bible).

The problem with “modern” (we’d say corrupt) social justice theology remains quite simple — unequal does not imply inferior; a common mistake stems from the difference between “A” and “B” means either “A” is inferior to “B” or “B” is inferior to “A”. Not so; difference and/or inequality does not mean inferior.

Men and women are not equal, yet that does not imply one is inferior. Ms. VanScoy made the basic mistake that anything not the same means one must be superior over other. That’s illogical (and quite wrong). Is an apple superior to a carrot? Of course not, they have different uses in the body, and it’s the differences that makes both fruit and vegetables required.

Men and women differ not from the carrot and the apple (we’ll leave it to the reader to determine which relates to which). In the body of Christ, both are required, and both differ in their strengths and weaknesses. But that does not mean all roles can be performed by each, just as if your physical body has scurvy (a disease from lack of vitamin C), you’ll require an orange much more than a carrot.

Ah ha! Using Ms. VanScoy’s logic, that means the carrot is inferior! A second-class food! Why oh why are carrots so maligned?

See how absurd modern liberal logic is?

Once you decide to ignore portions of the Bible, you’ve got to figure out who’s going to determine what should be followed, and what should be ignored. Of course, she’s already saying she’ll accept some of the Bible, while rejecting other parts. Why? Who gets to make that determination? What makes her choice of what applies today and what doesn’t better than anyone else’s? Her position holds nothing more than value relativism (meaning no absolutes exist, just whatever you feel like at the moment).

As some boldly proclaim they know what parts of the Bible apply today and what don’t, they’ve placed themselves in the position they rally against — those claiming superiority in the church. Naturally, they miss the irony of their position.

In another article on Sojourners, Anne Eggebroten continues the I’ll-ignore-what-I-don’t-like thought as well.

To conclude that women should be silent and not hold office in the church … you must ignore evidence that the “pastoral epistles” (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) were written in honor of Paul long after he died and reflect a second-century debate over women’s roles in the church…

How convenient! By ignoring those letters, you ignore Paul’s statement “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)”. Thus, now you’re free to pick and choose whatever you want.

Hurry Hurry hurry, step right up and don’t be late, you can now create your own designer religion! Just pick the parts of the Bible you like, and discard parts you don’t! Now we can create sects like:

  • The Swingers Bible — just ignore all those pesky parts on adultery. While you’re at it, get rid of all the marriage stuff, it’s so confining!
  • Bill and Ted’s Bible — delete all the warnings on drugs. Excellent! Party on dude!

But wait, there’s more! If you change your mind later, just change the rules. We don’t want to be tied down to any interpretation, be flexible! It’s all a cultural thing, you know.

Wait a minute, someone will say, you can’t just cast aside verses you don’t like just because you want to cheat on your wife and use drugs.

Exactly. So why do people do it to support their agenda? If they can ignore verses they don’t like, anyone else can ignore verses supporting any view. Thus, it quickly degenerates into a designer religion as each person makes up whatever they want.

Do you think God would approve of that?

Frequently these argue against something the Bible doesn’t promote. The Bible doesn’t say women should be slaves. The Bible doesn’t say women should stay in an abusive relationship. The Bible doesn’t say women are inferior. The Bible doesn’t say women can’t serve in the church.

These people fight against something which doesn’t exist (at least in the Bible, if a church holds those ideas, that’s another matter).

OK, so what is the proper relationship?

Once you understand you’re in a spiritual war, and the army of God has a particular order in it (or should), these problems with inferiority disappear. It’s not a question of holding someone down, or placing them as second-class citizens, rather it’s regarding military order.

Paul states one area off-limits to women; we’ll quote our book beginning with the passage that frequently begins the problem (it’s likely one verse not included in the modern liberal cut-and-paste Bible anyway).

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

Paul begins navigating yet another minefield — what about men and women and proper roles in the church? Again, the Corinthian church experienced problems in this area, and those problems remain today; Paul’s teaching remains as relevant today as it was in the first century AD. […]

First off, if you don’t know men and women aren’t equal you need a biology lesson. Seriously. Let that sink in a bit, and be sure you’re convinced of the absolute truth before continuing. For example, in general, men possess more strength than women. That means if I take a statistically valid sample, the men will outperform the women as a group. It does not mean you can’t find a woman who will be stronger than a man. Men and women are not equal — but that doesn’t imply superiority or inferiority, and it’s a mistake to make it so; be sure you understand inequality does not imply inferiority.

One view of this passage prohibits women from being involved in the church in an active role. Of course, that makes no sense as Paul mentions women prophesying and speaking in verse five, and that necessarily means women do prophecy and speak in church. Remember the theme of the chapter — military order. Only one job Paul states clearly women are not to have in the church, as he told Timothy.

But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:12)

That verse causes big problems as well — does it apply today? Or is it just a cultural argument for Paul’s time? How can you find out? Common sense — examine why Paul says that in the next few verses. Remember, don’t confuse the principle with the argument supporting it. The principle in verse 12 restricts women from holding the office of leadership — pastors.

It might be popular to allow women pastors today, but it’s not Biblical. Those ignoring Paul’s principle in verse 12 claim it was only a historical and cultural issue which doesn’t remain today. Oh really? Those groups haven’t done their homework as they blindly cast off Paul’s principle, without considering how Paul supported his principle in the next two verses to Timothy.

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Timothy 2:13–14)

Paul’s support for verse 12 comes from history, and unless history changes (hint: it can’t) his point stands for all time. Thus, the restriction applies today. If you want to create your own designer religion which conflicts with the Bible you’re free to do so. But since Paul’s support comes from unchanging history, it’s ludicrous to claim the principle doesn’t apply today, for it surely does. Don’t shoot the messenger, it’s Paul writing God’s Word so you should take it up with them.

Paul’s discussion remains valid for all time as the validation for it comes from unchanging history, not changing cultural values. Does that mean women are second-class citizens? Of course not. Those attempting such foolishness remain in error as much as those claiming the passage doesn’t apply. The Troubled Church, page 119,121–123 ISBN 978-0-9831117-0-2

For more, get the book on 1 Corinthians to examine Paul’s letter, as well as the MP3’s for free on the web.

In the end you’ve got a choice, accept the Bible, or pick and choose whatever you want, creating your own religion in the process. That path leads to much fighting as everyone disagrees on what from the Bible must be applied, and what can be ignored, harking back to the time of Judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

You’re free to create whatever religion you wish, but don’t call it Christianity as it has no relationship to Christianity at all.

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