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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Matter of Concern in the PCA

I am Woman; I am a Warrior

Over at the Bayly blog (http://www.baylyblog.com/), a torrid discussion has been raging surrounding Ms. Carolyn Custis James, wife of Frank James, President of Reformed Theological Seminary—Orlando. I truly liked Ms. James’ encouragement to women to become better theologians in her book When Life and Beliefs Collide.[1] The first part of her first book was quite good and to the point. The second half read more like a rant by an angry woman and she lost me, but, as I say, the first part was beneficial. If she could have ground her ax and left it at that, we all would have understood. As it stands, however, the rant was longer than her initial point. I still support her thesis that Christian women ought to be good theologians.

Since the time of the release of that book, Ms. James has published and spoken more and has made some outlandish statements, especially about the Hebrew word rz<[ ((((‘ezer) that she desires to translate in the vein of “warrior.” Thus, Eve was not a real “helper” to Adam in the sense that the Church has understood that term, but rather she was more of a “warrior.”

When I first heard this at a seminar led by Ms. James at the Chattanooga PCA General Assembly, I had certain questions that I put to Ms. James that, to this point, she has never answered. In fact, when I asked these questions, Ms. James entered the “spin zone” and danced around the issue until we were out of time. What were the questions I asked? First, I wanted to know which commentary or lexicon she had used to acquire this translation of rz<[ since I have read a number of English, Dutch, and German commentaries that don’t head in that direction.

Second, I was curious why the word “warrior” was necessary for Eve in the pre-fall situation. In short, where was the fight? In contemporary categories, if Eve said to her husband, “I have a dog in this fight!” his response would have been “What fight?”

Third, I wondered why Eve would have been given a pugilistic name and her husband not. Ms. James does not find evidence that the man had to be some kind of warrior as well and one can only wonder why, unless Adam was the prototypical “girly man.” Or, he was willing to let her fight for who knows what while he watched ESPN.

The Growing Trend of Unordained Women Deacons in the PCA

In reality, however, the Carolyn Custis James discussion on the Bayly blog morphed into something else that I want to address now. One participant on that blog site, who is apparently a PCA pastor, commented that there are already women Deacons in the PCA. That’s a very interesting concept as I shall show from the PCA’s Book of Church Order in a moment. This same man went on to say that in his PCA church and his sister churches in the region, they also have women Deacons. His justification for having female Deacons is the following: “This has been a tremendous blessing to our Deacons’ boards and our church members who have been greatly ministered to.”

This is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon in the PCA.[2] More and more PCA pastors are thumbing their noses at the BCO and going their own way. It is possible that these men disagree with the wording of the BCO, but there are church-orderly ways of attempting to change the BCO. Until the time that the BCO has been modified, Teaching and Ruling Elders in the PCA are duty bound to adhere to the contents of the BCO, since they have given their word that they would. By any stretch of the imagination, making such a vow carries with it enormous ethical implications and applications.

The pastor’s appeal on the Bayly blog is primarily to a perceived blessing; a nebulous blessing that remains virtually undefined. From there, it is only a short hop to an equally nebulous number of church members “who have been greatly ministered to,” whatever that means. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy; a self-serving argument. But the notion is that if a number of church members were greatly ministered to it really doesn’t matter what Scripture or the BCO says. This is the kind of approach that is finding favor and acceptance in the PCA and for those who want to play by the rules (which, by the way, as I just stated, we vowed we would do, but apparently being “greatly ministered to” trumps vows), this is a disconcerting turn of events.

It should also be noted that we have lost two PCA churches to the “women’s ordination” issue already. City Church in San Fran, under the leadership of Fred Harrell left the PCA for the notoriously liberal Reformed Church in American (R.C.A.) precisely because Fred wanted to ordain women. Fred’s congregation had a similar situation vis-à-vis unordained female Deacons. Most recently, Sam Downing’s congregation in Denver, CO pulled out of the PCA and also joined the R.C.A. You might recall that Sam had a woman on staff with the title of Minister of Congregational Life. Sam swore up and down, left, right, and center that this was not an ordained position and that having a woman on staff enabled him better to relate to the “cultured despisers” of Christianity in Denver. Right. Apparently, the law of “unintended consequences” kicked in along with Murphy’s Law. In case you are not familiar with the R.C.A., it is the professed denomination of Robert Schuller. It is the American branch of the old Dutch State Church (Hervormde Kerk) that was abysmal in 1834.

I won’t even comment on the debacle that the PCA is sponsoring called the “Missoula Project.” When you have a pastor that says, “I don’t trust anyone who won’t drink a beer with me,” then you are in deep, deep ka-ka folks. That’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Even some of the pagans in that “gathering” wonder why the pastors want their opinions on things in what is supposed to be a Christian congregation. It takes a pagan to state the obvious that seminary trained pastors cannot fathom.

In addition, I have been sent “letters” of explanation written by PCA pastors explaining why women are taking more and more of a prominent position in the worship services. Headquarters in Atlanta is remaining strangely silent as this scenario unfurls. It is next to impossible to locate a responsible party there. Supposedly, the ecclesiastical buck stops somewhere, but no one either knows or wants to take the responsibility for something they helped to create. I won’t place the guilt at any one door, but without a doubt the Mission to North America branch has played a role and it appears that our Reformed University Fellowship is slowly following suit. If we have a headquarters in Atlanta—which we do—then someone, somewhere must be responsible.

Did I mention that on the Harrell and Downing church plants about $1.5 million of PCA money was spent? This is merely the tip of the iceberg. The jury is still out on how much PCA money has been lost on PCA plants that have gone “belly up.” Is anyone, anywhere out there in headquarters-land reflecting on why these church plants failed? I have not seen or heard any reports about failed church plants and what can or should be done to correct or revamp the PCA’s approach. In fact, all we see is the Missoula Project, which seems as goofy and loopy as the now-defunct Provo, Utah debacle. Simultaneously, my own Presbytery has witnessed a number of PCA church plants (and they were all “hippy-dippy; happy-clappy. When they died their slow but certain death, not one member remained PCA, if they even knew what it was in the first place. The dirty little secrets are that they were “Presbyterian under the radar” and were loathe to get Elders. You know, the types of experienced, godly brothers that just muck up a young pastor’s vision for his church plant.) It would seem—it would seem—that when a pastor like Harrell or Downing jumped ship as they did that as pastors they would have some ethical compunction about taking the money and then, when it was no longer convenient, expedient, or when the PCA no longer resonated with them, finding a way to pay part or all of the money back. It doesn’t happen.

So the “traditional” PCA churches contribute to the “askings” of the PCA, while the church plants and those who are less concerned about advertising that they are PCA pay little or nothing. Then after those churches squander millions of PCA dollars, PCA headquarters asks the traditional churches to pony up more money because headquarters has a shortfall. There is something dreadfully wrong with that picture. But I digress.

What Does the Book of Church Order Say?

On the matter at hand: What does the BCO say about females as Deacons, even if they have greatly ministered to church members? A common ploy is to assert that Deacons hold their credentials as either ordained or unordained, as if it really doesn’t matter and is simply a preference. One PCA congregation has unordained male and female Deacons; another has ordained males and unordained females; it’s all the same. But according to the BCO, Chapter 9 (The Deacon), it isn’t. In 9-3, here is what we read: “To the office of deacon, which is spiritual in nature, shall be chosen men (emphasis mine) of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly spirit, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.” Where might unordained women—or men also for that matter—fit into a Deacon Board? BCO 9-7 settles the matter: “It is often expedient that the Session of a church should select and appoint godly men and women of the congregation to assist the deacons in caring for the sick, the widows, the orphans, the prisoners, and others who may be in any distress or need.” This clarifies matters enormously, but apparently for some it isn’t enough.

This approach, although finding acceptance with some, begs a number of questions: If one is not ordained, how can one be said to have credentials? What are the credentials that an unordained Deacon has? This is a “tough sell” for those looking for women serving as Deacons. You could ask the same question this way: What authority does an unordained male or female Deacon actually have? Is the charge to the congregation given according to BCO 24-6.6? Does it matter? Is the right hand of Christian fellowship extended for being unordained into the office of Deacon? Why or why not? Does the pastor declare “that _____________ has been regularly elected, ordained (or unordained) and installed a Deacon in that particular congregation, agreeable to the Word of God, and according to the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America; and that as such he (or conceivably she) is entitled to all encouragement, honor and obedience in the Lord”? (cf. 24-6.6).

How does an unordained Deacon function differently than an ordained deacon? That is to say, are there instances in the congregational life where a Deacon might have to exercise (financial) authority? In my experience, the answer is Yes. Does a woman have the biblical right to exercise authority over men, even though some church members have been greatly ministered to by women Deacons? Does it matter?

Do the Scriptures, Westminster Confession of Faith and BCO make this distinction? The clear and simple answer is that the unordained Deacon phenomenon is a man-made product. It is the outworking of the “a woman can do anything an unordained man can do.” Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan write, “Some churches assert that women can do anything that unordained men can do. The proponents of this approach say that since women are mainstreamed into the total ministry of the church, a women’s ministry is irrelevant or redundant. The vulnerability of this position is that it denies the uniqueness of woman’s design and role and leaves men and women susceptible to egalitarianism. Without a biblical apologetic of womanhood, and a mechanism for women to be discipled by godly women, the church will imbibe the world’s apologetic, and this distortion will create confusion and conflict among men and women.”[3]

Theology and Ethics; Biblical Truth and Christian Conduct

When Paul wrote to the Church that she was not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of her mind (cf. Rom. 12:2), he had already laid down a solid foundation of biblical truth in the preceding eleven chapters. Many today want to jettison the doctrinal truth and biblical distinctions between the sexes and in the offices and go straight for the pragmatism of the world and the ideals of our pagan culture. Bruce Ware, for example, has made the following observation: “Today…the primary areas in which Christianity is pressured to conform are on issues of gender and sexuality. Postmoderns and ethical relativists care little about doctrinal truth claims: these seem to them innocuous, archaic, and irrelevant to life. What they do care about, and care with a vengeance, is whether their feminist agenda and sexual perversions are tolerated, endorsed and expanded in an increasingly pagan landscape.”[4]

Every Reformed or Presbyterian theologian worth reading makes an impassioned plea for the inseparable connection between Theology and Ethics; doctrine and conduct. Herman Bavinck, for example, puts the relationship this way: “Dogmatics describes the deeds of God done for, to, and in human beings; ethics describes what renewed human beings now do on the basis of and in the strength of those divine deeds. In dogmatics human beings are passive; they receive and believe; in ethics they are themselves active agents. In dogmatics, the articles of the faith are treated; in ethics, the precepts of the Decalogue. In the former, that which concerns faith is dealt with; In the latter, that which concerns love, obedience, and good works. Dogmatics sets forth what God is and does for human beings and causes them to know God as their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; ethics sets for what human beings are and do for God now; how, with everything they are and have, with intellect and will and all their strength, they devote themselves to God out of gratitude and love. Dogmatics is the system of the knowledge of God; ethics is that of the service of God. The two disciplines, far from facing each other as two independent entities, together form a single system; they are related members of a single organism.”[5] The Dutch ethicist, Jochem Douma, says the same thing slightly more succinctly: “Dogmatics without ethics is empty; ethics without dogmatics is blind.”[6]

Either way, compromise is occurring in both doctrine and conduct in the PCA at an alarming rate. It is difficult to unravel which compromise is worse: the one where ethical compromise comes first and doctrinal sellout follows or where doctrinal indifference undermines biblical ethics. Both are devastating. To this date, ByFaith magazine, under the editorship of Dick Doster has not run a single article criticizing the manifestly detrimental aspects of the Emergent church movement, but it has run at least two praising it or at least finding leaders such as Don Miller amusing.

There are clearly PCA churches embracing certain facets of the Emergent church movement and we’re still trying to figure out where the proverbial buck stops. If we don’t discover that location very, very soon, we’re going to wake up one morning and no longer recognize the “P” in PCA.


[1] Carolyn Custis James, When Life and Beliefs Collide, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001).

[2] Without giving an exhaustive list of the PCA churches now moving in this direction, allow me to direct your attention to the PCA web site (pcanet.org) and you can search in the Church Directory to see which churches are following this course of action.

[3] J. Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2006), p. 32.

[4] Bruce Ware, “Ethics in a New Millennium,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 4, No. 1 (Spring 2000): 91-92.

[5] Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Prolegomena, (John Bolt [ed.] & John Vriend [trans.]), (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), p. 58.

[6] Jochem Douma, Responsible Conduct, (Nelson Kloosertman [trans.]), (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2003), p. 41.

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76 Comments:

Blogger Phil Rich said...

Well said as always.

I suppose it's a good thing that those two churches have left, but I can't help grieving for the congregations being led astray. Same with Auburn Avenue.

So how do we begin to deal with this issue? It really is an elephant in the living room. Does the BOCO mean anything? Do we take our vows seriously? Is this issue an acceptable exception to the standards?

I would say yes, we'd better and no.

The peace and purity of the church are at stake.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Let's look at a reference to ezer by Jerome Creach.

"Mahseh and related words may be even more strongly affected by the presence of 'ezer/'ōzer (see Pss. 33.20; 115.9, 10, 11; 118.7-8; 121), terms translated in LXX, boēthos or hyperaspistēs. These Hebrew terms often denote a warrior or hero. As Ps. 10.14b shows, 'ōzer refers to one who 'defends the orphan'. a role of the ancient oriental king. It is perhaps because of the popularity of this image of Yahweh that terms of refuge, fortress, and stronghold are often translated as boēthos or hyperaspistēs in LXX." Yahweh As Refuge And the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter, page 35.

Ezer was translated as hyperaspistēs, that is the "one who holds a shield over, protector, champion." (LSJ)

Let us look also at the use of συμμαχος in Sappho's poem to Aphrodite. Sappho made an appeal for love, and yet she used the word "co-warrior." Why? Because the word for war, μαχη, also means contest or striving. Vocabulary was not so neatly divided for situations of either war or peace.

Clement used the word boethos and Hoole translated it as "defender". Then there is prostatis, used of Phoebe, and used later by Clement for Christ. This is translated by Hoole as "champion."

I am all for a Biblical apologetic of womanhood.

2:12 AM  
Blogger RR said...

Suzanne, I'm not even an amateur linguist (and have never played one on TV), therefore I have no substantive reaction to your treatment of LXX, Sappho, and Clement.

But I would appreciate your taking a crack at the questions Ron asked Carolyn Custis James. If ezer denotes defender or champion for Adam's wife, why would her husband not receive something equivalent? And why would any of this be necessary before the Fall?

8:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I appreciate your perspective. I'm wondering though whether you know Sam Downing or Fred Harrell personally? I happen to know Sam personally and I'd like to make a few comments here about what you wrote in your post...

First of all, you are mistaken - City Pres has not yet left the PCA or joined the RCA. I don't know where you heard that from or why you are posting it publicly, but it simply isn't the case. As a Teaching Elder in the Rocky Mountain Presbytery, I find it divisive that someone is publicly posting the the things that our Presbytery is wrestling with behind closed doors. Please consider the effects of the rumors you are starting. This is gossip, my friend.

Secondly, the reason that city pres and Sam Downing are considering leaving the PCA are much deeper than the womens issue. That is the tip of the iceberg. Its much more about culture, litigiousness, hermeneutics and epistemology. Everyone who is on the hard right about the womens issue can't seem to see past that and really listen to the deeper issues - this is going to cause more church plants to struggle to bring their churches into this great denomination.

Finally, I would also disagree with your statement that churches such as City Pres are failed church plants simply b/c they don't end up particularizing in the PCA. Are we really that narrow in our thinking? The Kingdom of God is advancing in Denver precisely because God has planted City Presbyterian Church. Since when is the Kingdom of God confined to the PCA?

I would also agree with your take on the BCO's position concerning deacons. The real question isn't what the BCO's position is, but whether the BCO should be amended because it goes beyond the bounds of Scripture. The truth of the matter is that Scripture does not forbid women from being deacons - in fact, in several places it gives women the title. The truth is that we've made some inferences based on our understanding of ordination.

Thank you for raising these issues. We need more dialog in our denomination about them. We are losing many very solid, gospel-oriented, Scripture-loving men simply because we can't seem to listen to one another.

I also request that you consider removing the inaccurate comments you made about City Presbyterian Church. It is neither accurate, nor public information.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
Jerome Creach? Who in the world is he? Why not Martin Luther, John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Heinrich Bullinger, BDB. Baumgartner? All the Pss. you referenced were post-Fall settings. All of us are aware that 'ezer can have that Ms. James ascribes to it, just not in Gen. 2.
What is your point? Eve was a hero/warrior prior to the fall, but Adam wasn't?
Do you want to ordain women? Is it your desire that they, like Ms. James, are "non-domestic" Christian wives? It seems that all your references here or on the Bayly blog are not merely linguistic in nature.
All of your extra-biblical references are just that--extra-biblical. You must be aware that words possessing a certain meaning in classical Greek don't have the precise meaning in koine

8:27 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
Did you read my comments over at the Bayly blog about prostasis? If you haven't, you should. It's time to give the Phoebe/prostasis thing a rest. You're torturing the text in a vain attempt to make it say something it doesn't say, even if your French lexicon and Jerome Creach say otherwise.

8:29 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

If the PCA caves in to the feminist agenda, it won't be long before they cave in to the homosexual agenda, too. Historically, denominations that open themselves to ordination of women pastors have no problems a few years later embracing open homosexuals in the pulpit.

May God have mercy and preserve His remnant.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

The basic references for ezer as warrior is the Hebrew scriptures. Ezer, as a word, is said to denote a warrior. There is commentary support of this. The LXX and Clement are written in Hellenistic Greek.

The dichotomy between an ally in peacetime, and an ally in wartime is a false dichotomy, since the root word for war also means contest or striving.

Women are also associated with the Hebrew words hayil, "mighty" or "heroic", and tsaba, "host" or "battalions". There is no dichotomy in Hebrew, the battalions of women preach the good news in Ps. 68. So much word play on this one!

So, linguistically women could be called warriors, even before the fall.

I personally believe that men and women should champion each other, that they should defend each other. They are different so they can better meet the needs of the other.

I do believe that women should be ordained. I hold to the ancient way of translating 1 Tim. 2:12, that woman should not be the despot over man and usurp power. Likewise, I see no command for men to be the despot over women.

I see no conflict myself in working as a minister and keeping the house going once the children are older. The woman in her middle age has energy to spare. It doesn't seem to me to be an either or situation.

Women fill the academy and are teachers of everything else. They should also teach the scriptures.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
I much as I appreciate your willingness to contribute on the blog, I must also insist that you answer questions put to you and not merely post your "talking points."
Why "warrior" for Eve before the Fall, even though could be called "warrior." It seems that this is what you and Ms. James want, so you're declaring it so. Why not the man with something similar?
You wrote, "I hold to the ancient way of translating 1 Tim. 2:12." Exactly which "ancient" translation are you referring to? It seems that the Church--ancient and otherwise--has missed what you're alluding to for 2,000 years. If you haven't consulted Wayne Grudem's and Mary Kassian's books I would like to recommend them to you.
Please answer the questions.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Ryan,
"I'm wondering though whether you know Sam Downing or Fred Harrell personally."
No I don't. I never met Bavinck, Hodge, or Finney either, but I know what they teach. What's your point? Is it that you cannot criticize a personal unless you know them personally? You're setting up a virtually impossible and unrealistic situation.

"I don't know where you heard that from or why you are posting it publicly, but it simply isn't the case." Then sue "Christian Observer" because they ran the article.

"I find it divisive that someone is publicly posting the the things that our Presbytery is wrestling with behind closed doors." Unless your Presbytery was in closed or executive session then they are public meetings. The contents are public information.

"Secondly, the reason that city pres and Sam Downing are considering leaving the PCA are much deeper than the womens issue. That is the tip of the iceberg. Its much more about culture, litigiousness, hermeneutics and epistemology." Right. I've heard that in Holland, Canada, and now hear. When people can't get their way it's almost always culture, hermeneutics, and epistemology, as if the dissenters are the only ones interested or informed about those matters. Litigiousness? You lost me on that one, unless you're bent out of shape that Sam and Fred are being questioned about their views.

"Finally, I would also disagree with your statement that churches such as City Pres are failed church plants simply b/c they don't end up particularizing in the PCA. Are we really that narrow in our thinking?" I believe that most theologians know what they think and believe and rarely make MAJOR shifts. It does happen, but not all that often. My point, Ryan, is that if you guys decide to leave the PCA, that's fine. We're not the only true church by any stretch of the imagination. But why don't you--if you decide to leave--do the ethical thing and return the Lord's money that the PCA entrusted into your care. It's the honorable, ethical thing to do.

"would also agree with your take on the BCO's position concerning deacons. The real question isn't what the BCO's position is, but whether the BCO should be amended because it goes beyond the bounds of Scripture." This is where you show your read colors, Ryan. Indeed, the REAL question is what the BCO says, since you and Sam gave your word to uphold it. You might not like it now, but there are church orderly to get it changed. What you're suggesting is ecclesiastical anarchy, which might be comparable to litigiousness.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Why "warrior" for Eve before the Fall, even though could be called "warrior."

In Greek and Hebrew the dichotomy is false. The words in the original languages applied equally to ally as co-warrior in wartime, and ally as co-contestant or one who strives for someone or champions them in peacetime.

The use of words which we apply to battle context are amply used for those who strive for the gospel. We are all of us to put on the full armour of God.

It seems that this is what you and Ms. James want, so you're declaring it so. Why not the man with something similar?

IMO the word ezer cannot be accurately downgraded to a subordinate. Therefore, I believe that Eve was created as the full ally to Adam. As Eve is Adam's ally, so Adam must be Eve's.

I have no idea what Custis James thinks about this. I was introduced to her writing by the Bayly blog, for which I am duly grateful.

You wrote, "I hold to the ancient way of translating 1 Tim. 2:12." Exactly which "ancient" translation are you referring to?

The Vulgate translates authentew as dominare, and Beza (although not ancient) as "usurpare autoritatem"

However, we also have Chrysostom in Hom. 10 on Colossians,

"For that the woman has beauty, and the man desire, shows nothing else than that for the sake of love it has been made so. Do not therefore, because your wife is subject to you, act the despot;(αυθεντεω) nor because your husband loves you, be thou puffed up. Let neither the husband's love elate the wife, nor the wife's subjection puff up the husband. For this cause has He subjected her to you, that she may be loved the more."

So we see that for this Greek speaker a man may not authentew his wife. Yes, Chrysostom is patriarchal in his belief, but his understanding of the Greek word authentew varies from what is taught today.

It seems that the Church--ancient and otherwise--has missed what you're alluding to for 2,000 years.

Hilda of Whitby taught 5 bishops, and there have been many women preachers since the Reformation. Mary Dentiere, Margaret Fell, Mary Fisher, Elizabeth Fry, Catherine Booth. And many of these women had the full complement of children and preached out of their motherly concern for purity and compassion. I would be happy to introduce you to the writings and sermons of some of these women.

If you haven't consulted Wayne Grudem's and Mary Kassian's books I would like to recommend them to you.

I have combed through every detail of Wayne Grudem's books and articles. I found early on that this would reveal the weakness of his studies. I discovered that he has misrepresented evidence in his kephale study saying,

- the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation

- David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people

Here is the citation for the first,

"and, in a word, the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings." Philo Moses 2:30

We see that Philadelphus is not the authority or leader of the kings in his family who came before or after him. He is more illustrious, but he is not the authority over them.

For the second one,

2 Samuel 22:44

"Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people,
thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen:
a people which I knew not shall serve me."


Not even once in Greek is David called the "head" of his own people.

I risk little when I say that not once is the word kephalē used in the Septuagint or in ancient Greek literature preceding the Bible in the following expressions,

* head of the nation
* head of the people
* head of the tribe
* head of the family
* head of the army

Grudem has no evidence of this.

I have found basic flaws in every one of Grudem's studies and books. Ask me about the Baldwin study, or about how Grudem claims in his Systematic Theology that the one who is helping is occupying a subordinate or inferior position. He quotes Clines who says that "in the act of helping they are being inferior." Grudem, page 462.

Do you want an inferior God on your side of any battle? What commander prays to an inferior God? What seminary dares to use this text of Grudem's? Ask me about any of his books and you will find that I have indeed read them and I am scandalized.

2:47 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought that the reason why a woman is subordinate to her husband is because Adam was created first, and then Eve. To deny that is to deny the creation order, which seems to be the thrust of Paul's argument against women in leadership in I Tim 2:8-15. The feminists can play all the semantic games they want, but they can't get around the creation order in Genesis 1-2.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I only answered the questions asked.

But clearly woman cannot dominate man because she was created from man. And clearly man cannot dominate woman because she was given to him as his ally.

Clearly men and women have messed up, but Christ is born of woman and man and woman are both redeemed.

4:27 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Paul's point is that the creation order militates against women in positions of leadership in the church. There is no Scriptural warrant for insisting that women can teach men in church, let alone that they can hold any position of authority in the church. The church does not determine its doctrines from cultural notions of egalitarianism.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Why does the creation order "militate"? Why "polemicize" the relationship of Adam and Eve before the fall?

Why didn't the ancients understand this about the creation order?

Here is Chrysostom on woman in creation,

In the beginning I created you equal in esteem to your husband, and my intention was that in everything you would share with him as an equal, and as I entrusted control of everything to your husband, so did I to you; but you abused your equality of status. Hence I subject you to your husband: Homily on Genesis

and on why woman does not have the image of God,

"The image has rather to do with authority, and this only the man has, the woman has it no longer, Discourse 2 on Genesis"

Why would he say “no longer” if woman was created with less authority? I am sure he believed that woman was created with equal authority. I believe that this was the widely held belief even by the Reformers. They believed that because of the transgression of Eve, woman is subordinate.

And all those who read the Vulgate, which includes the Reformers, had this copy of Gen. 3:16.

"et sub viri potestate eris et ipse dominabitur tui"

and the French Olivetan Bible, which Calvin prefaced, had,

"et te soumettras à ton mari," Olivétan (Calvin)
"and you will submit yourself to your husband

(I come by the French honestly, from my Swiss heritage and the reading of Calvin as a child.)

How could these theologians have believed that woman was subordinate in creation if she was subordinated by the fall? No, I am persuaded that they believed that it was because of Eve's deception that women are subordinate.

It is clear that the interpretation of scripture is varied but the human desire for the subordination of women is a constant.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
I'm really busy tonight. You know, preaching about an inferior God and an inferior woman. I'll get back to you later, but I was under the impression that I had asked some questions. I mentioned earlier about Calvin, Luther, and other Reformers. Have you actually read them? Have a blessed Sunday.

6:03 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

I guess it has to be put in black and white:

1 Tim 2:12--And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

(Why? If we continue, we discover why--)

1 Tim 2:13--For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

The fall certainly changed things, but the primary point is that because Adam was created first, he was the head - not the woman. He bears the greater responsibility in the home, and in the church as well.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Wordsmith,

Are you aware of any example of "head of ____" using the Greek word kephale, in which this refers to a leader having responsibility over his own people, for example, a father over his family? I am not. I would like to know about such a use in Greek, if it exists.

There is, however, a Greek word that means "head of the house" and it occurs in 1 Tim.5:14. I can't tell you why, but there is is.

Ron,

I had never heard the expression "woman as warrior" until I read the Bayly blog. However, your questions should not go unanswered.

1. I wanted to know which commentary or lexicon she had used

Creach says that ezer denotes warrior. Baumgartner says to help others "in war". I guess it would take a warrior to do that. I do know Luther translated ezer as
Gehilfin and Olivetan says,

"Je lui ferai une aide pour lui assister."

I am aware of this. However, it is still important to note that James did not originate the idea that ezer denotes "warrior."

2. Why "warrior" for Eve before the Fall, even though could be called "warrior."

God is ezer. He was ezer before the fall. Does the meaning of ezer for God change? Why should it for women? Woman is ezer and she was ezer before the fall. Was there evil before the fall?

3. Why not the man with something similar?

I think man was created to be an ezer also. The term is used of Christ by Clement as the "defender in our weakness." Christ is our ezer and we are all to be imitators of Christ.

4. You wrote, "I hold to the ancient way of translating 1 Tim. 2:12." Exactly which "ancient" translation are you referring to?

The Vulgate.

5. It seems that the Church--ancient and otherwise--has missed what you're alluding to for 2,000 years.

I agree that the church fathers and the Reformers were patriarchal. But women have always preached the gospel. Women have always taught the scriptures and preached, although some have been flogged for it.

6. If you haven't consulted Wayne Grudem's and Mary Kassian's books I would like to recommend them to you.

I have consulted Grudem's books. At great length. Is there any particular passage that you find worthy of mention in relation to this discussion?

I take it you appreciate Grudem's presentation of God as our inferior help. Sounds like an inspiring sermon to me.

I hope these shorter answers facilitate dialogue.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Ron,

Thanks for responding. I'd rather disengage from arguing with you or entering debate b/c I don't see it going anywhere productive. However, I would request that you cite your source for the information about City Pres & Sam Downing leaving the PCA for the RCA. I checked the Christian Observer and found nothing on their website. Could you please provide a url or something. I'd like to contact the writer.

Thanks

8:53 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I was referring to John Armstrong who is RCA. I am PCA and Downing is PCA. Got it? This does concern me greatly.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
As promised, here is my reply to you, although I'm convinced it won't make any difference since your mind is already made up. I'm willing to venture a guess that you're UPUSA, United Methodist, or Episcopalian, but I could be mistaken.
Anyway, for you and the other readers, it seems that Jerome Creach (who teaches at a liberal seminary), you, and Ms. James are flying in the face of scholarship. I'm not certain which Baumgarten you're referring to, but mine has a very different rendering, as you will see. My problem is that you guys want to ordain women and are willing to twist and torture the Word in order to accomplish your goals.
Here is what the scholarly world (even some liberal German scholars)believes:
Ernst Jenni & Claus Westermann, "Theologisches Handwoeterbuch zum Alten Testament," ezer = "zusammenhelfen."
Claus Westermann, "Genesis," Kapital 1-11, "ezer hat den Sinn von Beistand oder Hilfe" (p. 309)
Ludwig Koehler & Walter Baumgartner, "Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros," ezer = "Helfer, Beistand, helper, succour" (p. 696).
Brown, Driver, & Briggs, "A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the OT," ezer = "help, succour," (p. 740).
Victor Hamilton, "Genesis," in the series "The New International Commentary on the OT," "In this particular case we should not that it is God who makes the judgment about the unsuitability of man's aloneness. Man is not consulted for his thoughts on the matter...God is not only evaluator; he is also rectifier. He is not long on analysis but short on solution. His remedy is to provide a helper suitable for men.... Thus the new creation will be neither a superior nor an inferior, but an equal. The creation of this helper will form one-half of a polarity, and will be to man as the south pole is to the north pole." (p. 175.)
Bruce Waltke, "Genesis," "God creates the woman to help Adam, that is, to honor his vocation, to share his enjoyment, and to respect the prohibition. The word 'help' suggests that the man has governmental priority, but both sexes are mutually dependent on each other. The man is created first, with the woman to help the man, not vice versa (see also 1 Tim. 2:13); however, this does not mean ontological superiority or inferiority." (p. 88.)
This probably won't help ideologues and feminists, but here is what internationally known and reputable scholars think. In NOT ONE instance did even the liberal Germans translate ezer as warrior.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Ryan,
Why do you guys always "disengage" with people who disagree with you? How do you know that this might not be productive?

10:57 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Nope, I don't know much about Greek, but I have been around the block enough to know that when someone comes up with a novel interpretation, it's a pretty good indication that they've got an axe to grind.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ron,

Excellent! I confess I was quoting from HALOT when I mentioned help "others in war."

My point would be that James is not the first to use "warrior" for ezer, nor is this use associated uniquely with a feminist interpretation (whatever that is).

Zusammenhelfen sounds wonderful to me. I have no investment in "warrior" but simply note that it has been used.

Respectfully, Bruce Waltke has very much mistaken the matter regarding ezer/boethos. When I last discussed the translation for prostatis with him, it was evident that he was following the commentary of others. I do not know if he is familiar with the use of boethos or prostates in the LXX and Clement or not.

The core meaning of boethos (ezer) in the Psalms and Clement is to defend someone else in their weakness or troubles. This is fundamental to the meaning of ezer and "succour". The ezer must be in a relative position of strength in order to be the "succourer."

To succour means to aid a person in danger or distress. That is the core meaning.

Clement couples prostates and boethos as titles for Christ, bringing them together as the "champion and defender" of our weakness.

You cannot subordinate ezer without subordinating God and Christ.

In any case, you have reminded me that I need to get n touch with Bruce Waltke again on this.

I was brought up Darby Brethren but now attend an Anglican church.


Wordsmith,

If you don't know Greek, I can only kindly say that you should not trust anything Grudem says about kephale. The evidence is not in line wth his conclusiions.

I was sent something he has written to preview, so there are people who recognize that I have invested the research.

You may visit my blog and look at the egalitarian resources.

In any case, I don't twist and torture the word. We would often be much better off with the KJV or some translation of that time, where Phoebe was a "succourer," not a "helper". All you really need is an English dictionary for this one to see that helper and succourer are in no way subordinate.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
Thanks for your response, but we are going in circles now. I've posted a comment about the protasis thing and not just from Waltke. It is what it is.
I believe that complementarians have always taught a "functional" subordination of Christ to the Father in the Council of Redemption. It is consistent with Gen. 1-2 and Paul's admonitions in Eph. 5:22ff. (Comp. Luke 2:51, where the same word is used of Jesus with Mary and Joseph.)
As far as advising the Wordster not to trust Grudem is far too self-serving. I can imagine that if you're a feminist, you're going to disagree with him, but I'm also not convinced that you have a corner on the natural rendering of kephale in the NT. We simply disagree.
However, having said that, when I look about for marks of a spiritually healthy church, I find that where women insist on leadership roles and the males have so little interest, initiative, or "huevos" to take their roles seriously, the church is not doing well. Cases in point are the UPUSA, CRC, United Methodists, and Episcopalians.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ron,

We are indeed going in circles. No amount of commentary can change the fact that a succourer cannot by definition be subordinate.

Regardless of the Council of Chalcedon, I have yet to read a church father who claims

1. that male and female reflect the trinity

2. that woman was subordinate to man in authority before the fall.

Chrysostom wrote,

"In the beginning I created you equal in esteem to your husband, and my intention was that in everything you would share with him as an equal, and as I entrusted control of everything to your husband, so did I to you; but you abused your equality of status. Hence I subject you to your husband:" Homily on Genesis

and on why woman does not have the image of God,

"The image has rather to do with authority, and this only the man has, the woman has it no longer," Discourse 2 on Genesis

Why would he say “no longer” if woman was created with less authority than man?

And truly I have never seen any theologian before the 1970's argue that male and female reflect the trinity.

This writing must exist and I would be very appreciative if you could quote this. It is the one thing that I have never seen cited.

I find that where women insist on leadership roles and the males have so little interest, initiative, or "huevos" to take their roles seriously, the church is not doing well.

Half of women are heads of their own families, through no desire of their own, I can assure you. But they do not get the respect they deserve for protecting and providing for their own families, as well as nurturing them.

No one honours these women and says that one who is an honourable head of the home, should also be a leader in the church. No, it turns out that one has to have huevos to be a leader in the church - but the woman makes a very good head of the house - go figure.

The Greek scriptures correctly recognize this and use oikodespotew for woman in 1 Tim. 5. That is the Greek term for "head of the house."

Grudem's citations are here. I ask anyone to explain them or offer even one example of kephale as the head of one's family, people, tribe, nation, anything at all. This is not self-serving, this is about basic fact. There is not even one citation that supports the expression "head of _____" in Greek literature. There are simile's and metaphors, but the common English expression, "head of house" "head of state" etc. does not exist in Greek for recognized authority structures.

The way Grudem does Greek research is reflected here,

On June 2, 1997, when the initial Colorado Springs Guidelines were agreed on, Guideline B 1 originally read,

"Brother" (adelphos) and "brothers" (adelphoi) should not be changed to "brother(s) and sister(s)."

In The TNIV and the GNB, 2004, p. 425 - 426, Poythress and Grudem write, "Examination of further lexicological data (as indicated in chapter 12) showed that this guideline was too narrow."

The following refined guideline was approved on Sept. 9, 1997,

"'Brother' adelphos should not be changed to "brother or sister"; however, the plural adelphoi can be translated "brothers and sisters" where the context makes clear that the author is referring to both men and women."

What was the 'further lexicological data'? In Poythress and Grudem's own words,

"in fact, the major Greek lexicons for over 100 years have said that adelphoi, which is the plural of the word adelphos, 'brother" sometimes means "brothers and sisters" (see BAGD, 1957 and 1979, Liddell-Scott-Jones, 1940 and even 1869).

This material was new evidence to those of us who wrote the May 27 guidlines - we weren't previously aware of this pattern of Greek usage outside the Bible. Once we saw these examples and others like them, we felt we had to make some change in the guidelines."

Do Grudem and Poythress actually say that those who wrote the gender guidelines had never looked at the 'gender terms' in Liddell - Scott or BAGD? Do they really call Liddell - Scott (1869) new evidence?

Why would anyone recommend the work of a man who made a draft of the gender language guidelines without looking in the lexicon. The point is clear, P & G do not read literature in Greek. They are not competent readers of Greek.

Ron,

You know yourself that Luther's Bible would not even come close to meeting the Colorado Springs Guidelines for gender language. Luther never talks about God's sons, but Gottes Kinder.

Here is Eph. 1:5

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, KJV

und hat uns verordnet zur Kindschaft gegen sich selbst durch Jesum Christum nach dem Wohlgefallen seines Willens, Luther

he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, ESV

Are we really supposed to throw out the KJV and Luther's Bible for Grudem's version of the scriptures?

Are Lancelot Andrewes and Martin Luther to be accused of neutering the text?

4:00 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

I would also recommend Dr. H. Wayne House on this question. No matter how many gymnastics scholars use to try to get around it, Scripture simply does not allow for female pastors. Period.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
"Regardless of the Council of Chalcedon, I have yet to read a church father who claims

1. that male and female reflect the trinity." I never said that. My point, which you missed completely, was that of functional subordination.

It seems that you are so bent on quoting the Church Fathers, that you fail to listen. Besides, your mind is made up.

There is no Grudem translation and you misquoted the ESV. Anyway, nothing will convince you and I'm weary of picking nits with you. It has become tedious. If i show you that you were wrong about Koehler & Baumgartner, you insist that succour means something else, even though the lion's share of commentators translate "helper." If I quote Waltke, he's wrong; if I cite Grudem, he's wrong too. It seems like you, Jerome, and the French has a monopoly on the truth.

5:03 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Let's put it this way: I am much more familiar with Dr. Grudem than with you, Suzanne, so of course it would be more logical to take his word for things - not to mention, he's got a lot more scholarship under his belt than you. Of what divinity/graduate school have you been a member of the faculty? Any published works? Where's your credibility?

6:52 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ron,

I do appreciate that your point is "functional subordination." Somehow, I have trouble locating that in the text.

About the association of male and female to the trinity, I have never seen this supported by anyone, and I thought you might be able to help. So I asked a sincere question.

My ESV citation matches what is on the ESV website.

The meaning of succour is quite stable actually. I haven't made it into anything else.

The commentaries are consistent with the view that if a word like hayil refers to a man, it means "manly" and "valiant", and if for a woman, it means "virtuous," and "noble". This double standard is the usual pattern in translation and commentary. How often do the commentaries record that the Prov. 31 woman was in Greek the γυναικα ανδρειαν the manly woman? A bias is built into the commentaries not to translate into the English any word associated with woman in the same manner that it is translated if it is associated with a man.

It is very naive really for the commentators to think that women don't read Hebrew and Greek, and can't see what they have done. Some authors are like little boys sneaking pieces of the pie when the mother isn't looking and thinking that it won't be noticed.

Grudem criticized the TNIV for translating aner as person with these comnents,

"It has been well-known by Greek scholars for centuries that the term anthropos can mean either “person” or “man,” depending on the context, and aner means “man” or “husband.” Nobody in the last several years of the gender-neutral Bible controversy has “discovered” any new examples that prove a new meaning for aner. But some people, even scholars, are now saying, “Maybe there is another meaning for aner, the meaning “person.”

If substantial evidence is forthcoming, we would be happy to change our understanding of plural andres, and we recognize that there may be such evidence that we have not yet seen, especially with regard to fixed idioms such as “men of Athens,” etc. But we have not yet seen clear evidence that this is the case. So we cannot at this point agree with the TNIV’s claim that aner “was occasionally used as a generic term for human beings.”

When I sent Wayne Grudem this example, which I did in order to defend the translators of the TNIV, he said that he was not familiar with it and he refused to change his understanding of aner.

Here is the example.

"in which a member of our community-- be he of the male or female sex, young or old,--
may become a good citizen (aner), possessed of the excellence of soul
which belongs to man (anthropos)." Plato's Laws 6. 770d.

I easily put together a dozen examples of aner (sing and plural), used for person or people. It did not require an exhaustive software search but just a few minutes on my part. I did not have to stay up all night and discover them, I knew already they existed.

Quite frankly Wayne Grudem does not keep his word, and my attempts to prove that the usage of the TNIV is consistent with classical scholarship of the 19th and 20 centuries is futile.

God does not care what degrees you have, He cares if you keep your word and acknowledge the truth.

Ron recommended Grudem's books and I think it is only right and proper that I should tell you that Grudem does not reference full citations or full lexicon entries, all in order to support "functional subordination."

You don't need to know me, or anything about me, you can look up Plato himself - he is not some recently discovered and esoteric author.

My mind was not originally made up, but now it is.

Ron,

Thank you very much for letting me post a few facts without moderation. I do appreciate your good humour in all this.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

No, it doesn't say "functional subordination," Suzanne, but neither does the Bible say Trinity, which you keep bringing up.
In my Presbyterian tradition--and I suppose that Jerome Creach is also a Presbo--we read the following in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1.6): "The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture..."
In other words, there is life after (selective) lexicography.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ron,

The trinity - not in scripture

Slavery - in scripture

functional subordination of women - not in scripture (other than the fall)

What we believe and how we treat our fellow human beings is our decision. We either love our next one as ourselves, or we don't. We are responsible for our own actions.

Some women are feeling that as the providers and protectors of families, they are given the invisible treatment in church. They are a demographic which the church refuses to recognize.

Some women are feeling that the scorn for brothers and sisters being addressed equally in the scriptures is misplaced.


"adelphoi - brother and sister"

It is the primary meaning, the first meaning of the word. Anyone can find this in the Liddell Scott lexicon.

God does not care about human tradition - he cares about the truth.

As a German speaker, you know the gender language guidelines are bunk. If evangelicals wish to retain respect, they will have to earn it.

If you actually thought that lexicons were of any value, you would take a red pen and write "and sisters" into the text each and every time adelphoi occurs.

But you don't do that. Instead you take Custis James to task for her lexical research or lack thereof. I am appalled at the double standard!

4:40 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Are you miffed because a) I don't know who you are and b) I therefore ask what your qualifications are? If I went to a doctor and he got all huffy because I asked him these same questions, it wouldn't reflect well on him, that's for sure.

Not all opinions are equal. And since I've never met you, I really have no basis for accepting your opinion over someone with whom I am familiar.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Are you miffed because a) I don't know who you are and b) I therefore ask what your qualifications are?

No, I am absolutely not miffed at that. There is no reason why you should know who I am.

My qualifications are this. I studied Greek every day from the ages of 14 to 21, classical, Hellenistic and NT.

I also studied French, German, Latin and Hebrew. I spent a year at Bible School in Switzerland. I then completed the SIL translation training. I married and so did not go beyond an MA or work in translation. I have two children. I teach special needs children now full time, deaf, Down's etc. and support my family.

I occasionally publish articles on special needs teaching, technology and writing systems, and other things.

I have blogged on things like the great injustice of the statement of concern against the TNIV, and I have researched the citations behind 5 of Grudem's books. It is amazing that I am still a Christian - I am so shocked I don't know what to think.

Have you read my previous comments carefully? Grudem misquotes citations for his kephale study. You can check and see yourself. You don't seem very curious.

I have written one of the most extensive criticism of Wallace's Junia hypothesis available. Mike Burer has promised me a response but it has been over a year now.

I regret that you probably do not have the expertise to assess my work yourself. I don't know whether I want to try to publish it and attempt to gain a reputation or not. Likely, I will always be too busy providing for and caring for my family.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Once again filling the blog network with inane comments. You could track your lucid thoughts with a calendar. But I'll bet you have no idea what I'm talking about, do you? You really are a waste of time.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Lest poor Wayne Grudem be suspect in all this, there is a good interview held in 2006 (Suzanne are you still bitter about this? 2006!)to counter Suzanne's criticisms. It's worth a look: http://adrianwarnock.com/2006/12/wayne-grudem-replies-to-critic.htm

9:16 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ron,

I want to thank you for posting this. It has always concerned me that Adrian removed my responding comments on that post.

I can cover a few key points here, without having all the details on hand.

1.a) I made a typing error, exchanging 6:2 for 2:6. I am not a great typist.

I remarked in my response that neither W & B nor Grudem refered to the NETS but depended on the less than literal Brenton translation. NETS has "in a mark" instead of "visible among the nations"

My claim is that W & B cited "episemos" as an adjective modifying a personal noun, when, in fact, in the Greek context it was "en episemo" which is a preposition followed by a noun refering to an impersonal object, or a preposition followed by an adjective modifying a place (an impersonal noun) with the noun elided. This is highly unlikely and even impossible in the context of an exclusive or elative use of the adjective, although possible with an inclusive or comparative use of the adjective.

The W & B study depended on the match of the adjective modifying a personal noun. That match was not made.

The W & B study made a serious error at this point, and I think if you email Mike Burer he will agree that the basic work needs to be redone. Burer thinks he can restructure the arguemnt to make it fit. This work has yet to be published. Until then, the W & B study has no foundation.

3. Grudem's section on Junia in Evangelical fem and Bib. Truth states that there is evidence that Junia could have been a man. I am unaware of this evidence, nor does he provide it in his book. Please read the footnotes carefully to see that Grudem quotes a 12th century Latin translation of Origin or something of that sort as evidence, as well as another author who inisted that Prisca also was a man. These two pieces of evidence are not credible.

4. I don't respond to exegesis by software. I don't use software and I don't know why Grudem does.

As for the rest, I can only say that the New English Translation of the Septuagint has been available on the internet for some time now, and I don't know why W & B, or Grudem do not refer to it. Yes, it is painful to me that these men ignore the scholarship done by others and work in a vacuum.

Is my knowledge of Greek adequate? Ask Richard Bauckham and Epp what they think of W & B's study of Junia.

Regarding "wimps" - what is that all about? When you can't think of anything else to say, call people "wimps". Why not call people sitzpinklers and be done with it. It is more varied and entertaining that way.

Yes, it gets my ire up when people use the kind of language that Wayne Grudem does. He invites rigourous response.

Grudem has no comment on my expertise with the one exception of my ability to type.

Thank you so much for raising this issue and giving me the opportunity to respond. I really respect your willingness to interact with me.

Sincerely,

Suzanne

12:20 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

PS I am neither bitter nor miffed. I think Grudem's response was fair but inadequate. He does not touch the core of the argument.

This is not ad hominem, this is about specific details that are published in books under Grudem's authorship.

In fact, when I said that Ev. Fem and Biblical truth was "riddled with errors" this was a quip based on the fact that Grudem reprints in that book a review of one of Catherine Kroeger Clark's books written by Al Wolters. Wolters says that Clark's book is "riddled with blunders" (or something close to that). When I pointed out to Wolters that some of these "blunders" reflected a difference between Canadian and American spelling, (Wolters is Canadian) he admitted that this was true in at least one case.

Grudem, however, quoted Wolters statement "riddled with blunders" or something of that sort a few times in his book. So I was taking off that term which Grudem had liked so much. Really I didn't know that Wayne Grudem would not percieve the humour in this.

I was essentially quoting him back to himself. However, that point seems to have been lost.

Run a search of the pdf of Grudem's book Ev. Fem and Biblical Truth to see what I am refering to, or I can give you the page numbers tonight.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I would like to respond to the rest of what Wayne Grudem wrote about me,

He wrote,

8. When she says, "as well as not look in the lexicons, as Dr. Grudem admits," this seems to me to be another false accusation. I don't think I have ever admitted to "not looking in the lexicons"! I have no idea what she means here, but it seems designed simply to denigrate my scholarly reputation. My articles are full of citations from relevant lexicons, and, yes, I actually do look at them! (Lexicons are dictionaries of Greek words.)

However, I was at this point quoting Grudem himself, who had written,

In The TNIV and the GNB, 2004, p. 425 - 426,

in fact, the major Greek lexicons for over 100 years have said that adelphoi, which is the plural of the word adelphos, 'brother" sometimes means "brothers and sisters" (see BAGD, 1957 and 1979, Liddell-Scott-Jones, 1940 and even 1869).

This material was new evidence to those of us who wrote the May 27 guidlines - we weren't previously aware of this pattern of Greek usage outside the Bible."


So, it would be easier if I knew which of these two statements of Grudem's is accurate. He does use lexicons or he doesn't, or does he mean sometimes?

Above in that post Grudem wrote,

it seems to me inappropriate for McCarthy to make an unsupported blanket accusation that my work is "riddled with factual errors." This is intemperate, polemical language rather than argument, and I consider it a false accusation.

Why would he call this intemperate and polemical? I have no idea. I was echoing a line from Grudem's own book about Catherine Kroeger Clark's work.

"Their scholarly documentation was riddled with elementary linguistic blunders." Ev. Fem and Bib. Truth. pages 286, 313, 649

So, when he says things like that - it is okay, but when I do, it is "polemic and intemperate."

Ron,

Surely you can see the humour in this. I am absolutely not bitter about Grudem's comments but I am puzzled.

Regarding Junia, Grudem writes, on page 225, footnote 13, that Origen understood that Junia was masculine. But Grudem then quotes a manuscript from 1280 - 1289 AD. That is not credible. This was very specifically my point. This was one of things I felt was a factual error. However, there are others.

Sorry to take up this space, but I do appreciate being able to fill in the background to Adrian's interview with Grudem. Adrian did delete my part in the interaction with Grudem.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Just doing a bit of word study . . .

Eph. 5:22 ai gunaikes tois idiois andrasin ws to kurio 23 oti anhr estin kefalh ths gunaikos ws kai o xristos kefalh ths ekklhsias autos sothr tou swmatos 24 alla os h ekklhsia upotassetai tw xristw outws kai ai gunaikes tois andrasin en panti

Eph. 5:22 The women [are to be subordinant/subject/obedient/submitted/yeilded] to their own men as to the Lord, 23 since man is [the] head of the woman as even (the) Christ [is the] head of the church, Himself savior of that body. 24 But as the church is subordinant/subject/obedient/submitted/yielded to Christ, so even the women [are to be the same way] to their men in all [things].

This would seem to associate kefalh with authority to some extent, although I suppose the meaning of upotassw could be disputed.

Interesting to note:

1Tim. 2:11 gunh en hsuxia manqanetw en pash upotagh 12 didaskein de gunaiki out epitrepw oude auqentein andros all' einai en hsuxia

1 Tim. 2:11 [A] woman in silence let learn in all subjection/obedience. 12 But to teach, to [a] woman I do not permit [this], nor to rule over [a] man: but [she is] to be in silence.

Of course, the meaning of auqentein is usually disputed by egalitarians. I myself can do no better than to refer to Balwin. The referrence here to silence & permission should bring to mind no other than:

1Cor 14:34 ai gunaikes en tais ekklhsiais sigatwsan ou gar epitrepetai autais lalein alla upotassesqwsan kaqos kai o nomos legei

1Cor 14:34 Let the women in the church keep silence, for these are not permitted to speak: but let them be subject, as even the law says.

I Tim. 2:13-14 goes on to explain "why" women are not permitted to teach: Adam was created first, then Eve; Eve was deceived, not Adam. This referrence to the creation order should bring to mind:

1Cor 11:3 qelw de umas eidenai oti pantos andros h kefalh o xristos estin kefalh de gunaikos o anhr kefalh de tou xristou o qeos

7 anhr men gar ouk oqeilei katakaluptesqai thn kefalhn eikwn kai doca qeou uparxwn h gunh de doca andros estin 8 ou gar estin anhr ek gunaikos alla gunh ec andros 9 kai gar ouk ektisqh anhr dia thn gunaika alla gunh dia ton andra

1Cor 11:3 But I wish you to know that of each man the head is (the) Christ, [the] head of [a] woman [is] the man, [and the] head of (the) Christ [is] (the) God.

7 For truly [a] man ought not to veil the head, being [the] image and glory of God: but the woman is [the] glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman [is] from man. 9 For indeed man was not created for the woman, but woman for the man.

Also worth noting is the use of "disgrace" in:

1Cor 14:35 ei de ti maqein qelousin en oikw tous idious andras eperwtatwsan aisxron gar estin gunaiki lalein en ekklhsia

1Cor 14:35 But if they wish, at home let them ask their own men, for [it] is [a] disgrace for [a] woman to speak in church.

Which should remind you of:

1Cor 11:5 pasa de gunh proseuxomenos h profhteuwn akatakaluptw th kefalh kataisxunei thn kefalhn auths

1 Cor 11:5 But each woman praying or prophesying with the head unveiled disgraces her own head.

I think the traditional, non-egalitarian understanding pulls these texts together much more convincingly.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

And before I get too carried away, I'll just say I'm not a New Testament Greek specialist by any means. I just have some very basic Greek vocabulary and grammar under my belt, and can make handy use of a lexicon and Greek New Testmant. :)

11:06 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kyle,

I wouldn't mind responding to a couple things here.

1. Submission is not the same word as obedience. Here is how the word is used in 2 Macc 13.23,

”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (ὑπετάγη) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”

And here in Clement,

1 Clement 38.1:

"So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject (ὑποτασσέσθω) unto his neighbor, according as also he was appointed with his special grace. Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich minister aid to the poor; and let the poor give thanks to God,"

One can hardly suppose that the king obeyed the Jews, or that both the strong and the weak in Clement obeyed one another.

2. The Baldwin study includes as a primary piece of evidence this quote,

Philodemus (1st cent. BCE): “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (συν αυθεντουσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men”; and BGU 1208 (27 BCE):

The problem is that this quote is from a fragment. That means that the Greek has been reconstructed and then, because so much of the Greek was missing, it is impossible to translate. However, a summary of the main idea has been supplied. The summary, in this case, included the phrase "those in authority" and the fragment included the word αυθεντ[ου]σιν. However, the phrase συν αυθεντουσιν occurs near the beginning of the Greek fragment, and the phrase "those in authority" occurs at the end of the Englsh summary. There is no suggestion that the two are connected. This is a misunderstanding at best.

If there is any evidence in the Baldwin study that authentew means "exercise authority" I have not seen it.

3. Regarding 1 Cor 14, you might be able to tell me what law Paul is quoting from when he says,

as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

I don't know the answer to this.

No doubt the status quo is more comfortable for men. However, we are now in a time when many women live on their own and take responsibility for themselves and sometimes their children. They take responsibility, and so the question is, whose authority are they under, and how are they represented in church.

If men have authority because they are responsible, why do responsible women not have authority?

My feeling is that knowing Greek is not important for most people. The question is whether woman is man's neighbour.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

What do you think? Is woman the neighbour of man? Can men treat women, and let me include single women also in this, as neighbours?

11:40 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
Unless you're RC, Maccabees is merely of some historical interest. I don't understand your overwhelming love affair with Clement either. You claim to have cut your teeth on Calvin, but I haven't seen anything of a substantial rebuttal of his theology in your writings.
You skirt issues and then return to your talking points. I inquired of you if you had read Mary Kassian's book and you simply ignored the question. It's not that her book is the end-all and be-all on the subject, but it is a worthwhile read. While we're on the subject have you read Rebecca Jones' "Does Christianity Squash Women?" Please answer the questions.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Unless you're RC, Maccabees is merely of some historical interest.

This is lexical evidence. It demonstrates that one can submit to someone who has no authority over you. Both citations demonstrate the use of the word hypotasso without an authority relationship. The Jews have no authority over the king, but the kind submists to them.

In Clement, which was written very close to the time of the NT we see the use of many different words. He uses hypotasso again without authority being necessary. The strong submit to the weak and the weak give thanks. There is no implication of the weak obeying the strong. The weak are to be grateful and respect the strong.

These are not inspired texts. Theses are texts which demonstrate the normal use of words by Greek speakers. We have to know what words mean somehow. Most people use literature searches to establish word meaning. I believe that if properly quoted, these citations can be useful.

My difficulty with some word searches is that they don't provide full citations.

Regarding Calvin, although I am somewhat, but not very familiar with his writing, I have never set out to critique his theology. I have never attended a Calvinist church, his writing is of historic interest only to me. I find this remark rather vague.

Mary Kassian? I have read the Feminist Mistake. Hoewver, I have so little in common with someone who studied feminist studies, which I had never had any exposure to, that I didn't have any particular thougts.

First, she spends 2 or 3 pages on feminism before the 1950's. That basically eliminated any treatment of Margaret Fell, women abolitionists, Catherine Booth, and all the women missionaries of the 19th century, many of whom preached. She simply did not cover a time period that was of interest to me.

However, after reading her book, I did read Betty Frieden and De Beauvoir, so as to put Kassian's work in context. I don't think Kassian had the necessary background to interact with French feminism of the early 20th century. She did not seem very familiar with the French patriarchal culture of men as the norm acquiring a mistress as well as a wife. I did not sense that she interacted with the issues De Beauvoir was influenced by.

However, these things are of academic interest only.

Rebecca Jones has done some good stuff about working with the deaf. I do this. We probably have a lot in common, if I remember her paper rightly.

I guess you would have to ask me some specific question about these books for me to say any more.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Suzanne,

You do well with the Greek, but you need to argue for a systematic doctrinal understanding of these passages. The traditional teaching is consistent and coherent, and works within the semantic range of the Greek (a point which was somehow lost on you?); you need to demonstrate how the traditional view is wrong, as well as show what the proper understanding should be. Perhaps you've done so elsewhere, but you've not done so here.

As far as Baldwin, I'm curious whether you actually read through the quotations or simply picked out one that has been criticized as questionable. (I didn't realize that the link I provided was for Grudem's whole book; the quotations begin in Appendix 7, pg. 675.) To the layman (and I am a layman), the point seems rather well demonstrated.

As for I Cor. 14:34, Paul isn't quoting any particular passage that I can see. Rather it seems to me that he is speaking of a general principle in the Law, which he has already demonstrated in his argument from the creation order back in I Cor. 11. The creation account is part of the Law, i.e., the Torah.

No doubt the status quo is more comfortable for men. However, we are now in a time when many women live on their own and take responsibility for themselves and sometimes their children.

The truth of Scripture does not change with the times, Suzanne. I don't argue in favor of the traditional understanding because it is "more comfortable" for me as a man. I argue for it because I cannot avoid it as the clear teaching of Scripture. (For what it's worth, I grew up in a Pentecostal tradition where women were frequently in positions of ordained leadership in the church.)

What do you think? Is woman the neighbour of man? Can men treat women, and let me include single women also in this, as neighbours?

Is the judge my neighbor? Does he not possess authority over me? Your argument doesn't follow.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

One also wonders, Suzanne, whether you believe the Lord Jesus possesses any authority over His body.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kyle,

I have in the past been explicitly instructed that if I argue for a certain doctrinal position on blogs which do not invite me to post on this, I will be deleted. So now I would rather wait for Ron to open this up for discussion.

However, I am in the position right now of knowing that the scholarship supporting complementarian theology has certain lacunae.

Yes, I have read the entire Baldwin study, cross-checking significant citations with the original Greek.

There are only three quotations which are within two centuries of the NT.

BGU 1208 (first century B.C.): "I had my way with him [authenteō ] and he agreed to provide Catalytis the boatman with the full payment within the hour."

3. Philodemus, Rhetorica II Fragmenta Libri [V] fr IV line 14 (first century BC): "These orators ... even fight with powerful ( authenteō ) lords." (This is a hypothetical reconstruction of a fragmentary text.)

4. Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos III.13 [#157] (second century A.D.): "Therefore, if Saturn alone takes planetary control of the soul and dominates (authenteō ) Mercury and the moon ..."20

The Philodemus fragment is not a valid equivalence. That leaves the other two citations. I know it is confusing because the study cites 82 examples in all, but the other 79 examples are window dressing. This is how these studies are done.

The one labeled BGU 1208 was retranslated for Baldwin by John Werner. It is often translated by others as "had my way with" or "compelled". I believe Grudem accepts "compelled" for that example, if you study the footnotes carefully. Ev. Fem. & Bib. Truth. page 680

I would honestly appreciate if you could communicate to me why a study like Baldwin's seems to demonstrate its point. To me it lists 79 irrelevant citations, one, by Philodemus, which doesn't exist; one, BGU 1208, that is demonstrated to show a hostile relationship; and one which refers to astronomy.

That doesn't do anything for me. However, endless numbers of people have recommended this study to me. I would appreciate a lay perspective on why this study is so influential.

The Vulgate translated authentew as dominare, and the KJV as "usurp authority" but Grudem says,

"To take one example: in 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation that gives the egalitarian side everything they have wanted for years in a Bible translation. It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”. If churches adopt this translation, the debate over women's roles in the church will be over"

Possibly Grudem was not aware that there was a Bible in the 1560's called Calvin's Bible, an English translation of a French original. It has "assume authority" in it.

Regarding 1 Cor. 11 and 14, how do you reconcile 1 Cor. 11:5 with 1 Cor. 14:34. I understand that many are fine with women taking part in congregational singing. Everyone has a private interpretation of this verse.

One of my main interests is in having the CBMW withdraw the statement of concern against the TNIV. Since the KJV and Luther's Bible don't meet the gender guidelines, why should the TNIV?

There is no basis for the statement and it is divisive.

I don't aim to answer all your questions in any one post, but I don't mind responding further if that is allowed.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kyle,

As for I Cor. 14:34, Paul isn't quoting any particular passage that I can see. Rather it seems to me that he is speaking of a general principle in the Law, which he has already demonstrated in his argument from the creation order back in I Cor. 11. The creation account is part of the Law, i.e., the Torah.

Do you think the silence of women is part of the creation narrative? Is that what man is head of woman means, that men are the voice of women? Do abused women have no right to dissent?

Although men and women of all stripes and types can be abusive, it is only certain doctrinal teaching which puts the woman under the authority of man and deprives her of voice.

In this system the woman cannot speak up until she has the bruises to prove that she has been the object of violence. Women would rather have the authority to make decisions for themselves, before and not after these things occur.

I am sure you don't really mean that women are not to have voice.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Regarding 1 Cor. 11 and 14, how do you reconcile 1 Cor. 11:5 with 1 Cor. 14:34. I understand that many are fine with women taking part in congregational singing. Everyone has a private interpretation of this verse.

I Cor. 11:5 isn't prescriptive, that is, it doesn't say, "women should pray and prophesy with their heads veiled." Paul isn't addressing the matter of whether women should pray and prophesy, here, he's arguing that women are to veil themselves as a sign of subjection to men. I think I Cor. 14:34 has referrence particularly to teaching in the public assembly or interrupting the teaching with comments and questions; as such it meshes quite well with I Tim. 2:11-12.

I would honestly appreciate if you could communicate to me why a study like Baldwin's seems to demonstrate its point.

I don't know how I could communicate it to you if you don't already see how it might be persuasive to the layman.

Do you think the silence of women is part of the creation narrative? Is that what man is head of woman means, that men are the voice of women?

I think the command from Paul that woman are to keep silent in the church is derived from the general principle of the woman's subordinate role which was established at creation. It has nothing to do with the man being the "voice" of the woman in some sort of feminist delusion of patriarchal oppression.

Do abused women have no right to dissent?

In this system the woman cannot speak up until she has the bruises to prove that she has been the object of violence.


It's hard to take you seriously when you make such absurd statements. Do you think I don't believe Eph. 5:25-33?

9:44 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

a sign of subjection to men.

My Bible doesn't actually mention anything like this in 1 Cor. 11. It says,

"For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."

What you write sounds as logical to men as if I wrote, "man is the foot of woman". It is the direct opposite of what I read in the text.

There are those who support the interpretation you propose but it is an interpretation. It is without precedent in the Greek language that authority could mean subjection.

I don't know how I could communicate it to you if you don't already see how it might be persuasive to the layman.

Perhaps people feel that a study with 82 examples is significant but, in fact, only three are relevant. Do you see the meaning "exercize authority" supported outside of Werner's translation for BGU 1208?(Werner produced this translation for the study.)

It would help me if you answered this question since then we could regard certain issues as either still open or set aside.

Regarding Eph.5:25-33. I intended no comment whatsoever on you, your attitudes or behaviour. I deeply regret that you took that as a personal remark. It was not intended that way.

My meaning is that a certain percentage of people do abuse their spouses, and the church typically teaches that neither husband or wife leave the marriage unless there is evidence of abuse. This causes particular difficulties for the wives, because they may be deprived of financial resources, or counseling or opportunity to consult about the dangers they experience since they are under authority. They may be expressly forbidden from getting counseling help by their husbands.

I have no intention of saying that abuse is more of a problem in patriarchy, but simply I claim that abuse does exist and it poses a certain dilemma. No doubt it is men like you who are kindly to those who are subordinate to you, who least understand the problem. I symphathize with that and I had no intention of causing personal offense.

If you think we should leave the issue of abuse out of the discussion I am happy to do so. However, I would urge any church to be more aware of this problem.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Bad typo alert! :-)

I wrote,

What you write sounds as logical to men as if I wrote, "man is the foot of woman". It is the direct opposite of what I read in the text.

I meant,

What you write sounds as logical to me as if I wrote, "man is the foot of woman". It is the direct opposite of what I read in the text.

PS Happy Valentine's Day!

10:58 PM  
Blogger Gem said...

Wordsmith said:
QUOTE:
I guess it has to be put in black and white:

1 Tim 2:12--And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

(Why? If we continue, we discover why--)

1 Tim 2:13--For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

The fall certainly changed things, but the primary point is that because Adam was created first, he was the head - not the woman. He bears the greater responsibility in the home, and in the church as well.
ENDQUOTE

I'm sure you will agree that we need to stick with what the Scripture says:

1 Tim 2:13 for Adam was first formed, then Eve, 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, into transgression came,

"Adam was not deceived"

"not deceived" does not translate into "innocent":

Job 31:33
"Have I covered my transgressions like Adam,By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,"

Hosea 6:7
But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant;There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

Gen 3:22-24 describes who was expelled from the garden. Only Adam was expelled. Eve fulfilled the prophetic utterance of God in Gen 3:16 when she chose to follow him out of the Garden :(

Now what?
Are all women doomed to fulfill the pain of Genesis 3:16 without mercy, redemption, or restoration? I don't think so, and I think Paul is preaching HOPE and RESTORATION in 1 Tim 2:11-15

1 Timothy 2:15 She can be restored through “the child-bearing”?

-> restored to her position beside Adam in dominion over creation per Genesis 1:26-28
-> restored to her inheritance as a joint heir with Christ
-> restored to intimacy with the LORD which was severed by Eve when she left the Garden.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Suzanne,

What you write sounds as logical to me as if I wrote, "man is the foot of woman".

But Paul did write that man is the head of woman. Now if you wish to take kefalh as meaning "source" (as some egalitarians do), then I should like to know what, exactly, you make of Eph. 5:22-24, in which as Christ as kefalh is submitted to by the church, so likewise women are to submit to men (or, more precisely, wives to husbands).

It is the direct opposite of what I read in the text.

Then please, give an exposition of I Cor. 11:2-16.

There are those who support the interpretation you propose but it is an interpretation. It is without precedent in the Greek language that authority could mean subjection.

I have not said that ecousia means "subjection." It means "authority" or "power," and in I Cor. 11:10 it is connected to the wearing of a veil, which Paul argues that women are to wear because the man is the head of woman and woman is the glory of man, made from man, and created for man. Although I think it simple enough to draw from this passage that women are to be in subjection to men, the position is further strengthened by other passages with similar exhortations to women, especially in their relationship with men, in Paul's letters. Some of these I have looked at above. So, I believe that when Paul writes, dia touto ofeilei h gunh ecousian exein epi ths kefalhs, the "authority" of which he speaks is the man's authority, which the woman is to "have upon her head" (symbolically) by the wearing of a veil. And this of course all comports very well with the related doctrines that Christ, as the Son, is subject to the Father, and the church is is subject to Christ.

Perhaps people feel that a study with 82 examples is significant but, in fact, only three are relevant. Do you see the meaning "exercize authority" supported outside of Werner's translation for BGU 1208? (Werner produced this translation for the study.)

As I said, I am a layman. I don't have access to each of the sources there cited. If you feel only three of the citations are relevant (one of which is a hypothetical reconstruction of a fragment and the other a referrence to astronomy), what is demonstrably incorrect about Werner's translation? Why should we prefer "compelled" or "had my way"? And if these three citations are not particularly helpful, why are the citations from later dates to be ruled completely irrelevant if we do not have auqentew appearing elsewhere in Greek literature in closer proximity to I Tim.? Are you of the opinion that we can have no actual understanding of what auqentew means in I Tim.?

If you think we should leave the issue of abuse out of the discussion I am happy to do so.

I think we should leave it out, because the issue here is not whether abuse occurs and how to address it. The issue here is whether the biblical teaching is that women are to be subject to men. (That abuse occurs is unquestionable, and abusers should certainly be punished. But the idea that the traditional teaching makes it impossible for a woman to "have a voice" until she is bruised and battered is absurd.)

6:21 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kyle,

Let's look at one or two things.
This is a passage from Cyril of Alexandria, (died AD 444), De Recte Fide ad Pulch. 2.3, 268.

"Therefore of our race he become first head (κεφαλη), which is the αρχη, and was of the earth and earthy (Adam). Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is αρχη, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our αρχη, which is head, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because head means αρχη, He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the head of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh."

The word αρχη you may recognize as the word "beginning" used in John 1:1. This is its most common meaning - beginning or origin. It had a secondary meaning of "power" but this is not nearly as common.

Read this carefully and think of how Christ became our head. He became our head because of "his kinship with us according to the flesh." Man is head of woman means that man has kinship with woman, just as Christ has kinship with us by becoming the second Adam (earthy).

In this passage, you can either see Adam as our origin or source, or as our ruler. I do not see ruler as a permissible translation for αρχη. I do accept origin or source as a possible translation.

It is important to recognize that this is an orthodox way to understand "head", and likely had no relationship to egalitarian teaching. It was a general teaching about the nature of Christ's relationship to us.

This doesn't necessarily have much to do with how "head" in Eph. 5. There we see,

head to body
sacrifice to submission
love to respect

I do not see authority mentioned, nor does the use of the word submission entail authority on the part of anyone involved.

I doubt we can discuss 1 Cor. 11 much further, as any understanding of it is an interpretation. It only refers to the subjection of women, if one feels that this is already proven by the use of the word head.

You write,

Then please, give an exposition of I Cor. 11:2-16.

I have explained that I would not discuss doctrine without Ron's invitation. I willingly accept Ron's questions and directives here, both as blog owner and elder. I have no idea who you are but if this is the way you usually talk to women, it comes across as out of place. Is this what you mean by the subjection of women?

Likely you did not realize how it would come across.

Back to Baldwin.

Grudem agrees that these are the only three citations that fall within the right time period. (The use of authenteo in later literature is usually more negative than in the earlier.)

However, of the three, only the BGU 1208 is relevant. (BGU is the Museen zu Berlin, Griechische Urkunden)

Grudem is the one who agrees that the use of authenteo in the BGU 1208 means "compel". On page 680, in the footnotes, Grudem writes about BGU 1208,

"However, the meaning of 'compel' does seem appropriate."

Do you have the book to check this?

I know it is hard to believe that the entire study could come up with only this one quote. I am to a certain extent sympathetic with complementarians, who would rightly feel cheated by Baldwin's study. Even if you don't know Greek, I believe that it is possible to ascertain the emptiness of the study(except for the inclusion of the Philodemus fragment, which was an error.)

Authenteo probably means exactly what the translators of the Vulgate thought it meant - "dominare." It is worth keeping in view that Chrysostom gave men explicit instructions that they were not to "authenteo" their wives.

But the idea that the traditional teaching makes it impossible for a woman to "have a voice" until she is bruised and battered is absurd.

One may call this absurd and I am sure it is, but for the women involved it is a tragedy.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Suzanne,

Regarding Cyril, how is this passage "relevant" as to the meaning of kefalh in the biblical text? If you think it's relevant, you need to reconsider your dismissal of Baldwin's 79 other citations of auqentew. Even so, not having access to Cyril's larger argument, I can hardly say if you are properly understanding what he's saying. It may very well be that he intends "ruler" or "power" by arxh.

But to provide a countercitation, let's read Clement of Alexandria, writing in the second century A.D., in his Stromata 4:8:

The ruling power is therefore the head. And if "the Lord is head of the man, and the man is head of the woman," the man, "being the image and glory of God," is lord of the woman. Wherefore also in the Epistle to the Ephesians it is written, "Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Husbands, love your wives, as also Christ loved the Church. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh."

This doesn't necessarily have much to do with how "head" in Eph. 5. There we see,

head to body
sacrifice to submission
love to respect

I do not see authority mentioned, nor does the use of the word submission entail authority on the part of anyone involved.


This is why I've asked you the basic theological question of whether the Lord Jesus has authority over His church? Does the Father have authority over His Son? And you'll surely recognize the implication for the marital relationship.

I have explained that I would not discuss doctrine without Ron's invitation. I willingly accept Ron's questions and directives here, both as blog owner and elder.

I can't speak for Ron, but my impression is that he welcomes the presentation of actual arguments.

I have no idea who you are but if this is the way you usually talk to women, it comes across as out of place. Is this what you mean by the subjection of women?

I requested that you provide an exposition of I Cor. 11, since you find mine to be fallacious, and since you apparently have great knowledge of Koine Greek than I. How this comes across as "out of place," I haven't the foggiest. In terms of this particular discussion, I couldn't care less whether you are male or female. Evidently it matters a great deal to you that I am a male? I don't know what deductions you make from that fact, but if we are going to discuss the doctrine expressed in the Greek, it's not going to advance the discussion in the least.

Grudem is the one who agrees that the use of authenteo in the BGU 1208 means "compel". On page 680, in the footnotes, Grudem writes about BGU 1208,

"However, the meaning of 'compel' does seem appropriate."

Do you have the book to check this?


I don't possess Grudem's book in hard copy, but I don't doubt your citation of him. What I wanted to know is why "compel" should be considered a superior rendering to Werner's "exercise authority." (And how, exactly, does "compel" work in I Tim. 2?)

Authenteo probably means exactly what the translators of the Vulgate thought it meant - "dominare."

I don't see how this is helpful for your case. The Latin verb dominari means "to master, rule, control." It is related to the noun dominus meaning "lord, master, ruler." Now, of course these can be used in a negative sense ("despot," "tyrant,"), but does not the Vulgate refer to our Lord as Dominus?

Here is how Jerome translates Prov. 19:10:

non decent stultum deliciae nec servum dominari principibus

In the ESV this is, "It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes."

Do you really suppose that Jerome did not think that princes ought to "rule over" slaves?

It is worth keeping in view that Chrysostom gave men explicit instructions that they were not to "authenteo" their wives.

So Chrysostom, who preached three centuries after Paul wrote, is relevant for our understanding of auqentew? I thought you'd already ruled him out, since he made up some of the 79 other Baldwin citations.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

By the way, the Greek in back of Clement is as follows:

kefalh toinun to hgemonikon. ei de kurios kefalh tou andros, kefalh de gunaikos o anhr, kurios o anhr ths gunaikos, eikwn kai doca qeou uparxwn. dio kai en th pros Efesious grafei, upotassomenoi allhlois en fobw qeou, ai gunaikes tois idiois andrasin ws to kurio, oti anhr esti kefalh ths gunaikos ws kai o xristos kefalh ths ekklhsias, autos o sothr tou swmatos. all os h ekklhsia upotassetai tw xristw, outws kai ai gunaikes tois andrasin en panti. oi andres, agapate tas gunaikas, kaqws kai o xristos hgaphsen thn ekklhsian. outws kai oi andres ofeilousin agapan tas eautwn gunaikas ws ta eautwn swmata. o agapwn thn eautou gunaika eauton agapa: oudeis gar pote thn eautou sarka emishsen.


[The] head, therefore, [is] the leader. And if "[the] Lord [is the] head of the man, and [the] head of [the] woman [is] the man," the man [is] lord of the woman, "being [the] image and glory of God." For this reason also in the [letter] to [the] Ephesians [it] is written, "submitting to one another in [the] fear of God," "the women [are to be subject] to their own men as to the Lord, since man is [the] head of the woman as even (the) Christ [is the] head of the church, Himself the savior of that body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so even the women [are to be the same way] to their men in all [things]. The men are to love their women, just as even (the) Christ loved the church." "So also the men ought to love their women as [they love] their own bodies. The one who loves his woman loves himself: for no one ever hated his own flesh."

10:24 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kyle,

I didn't rule out the other 79 citations. Others have.

Let's look at a couple of the other citations that Baldwin supplies. I am gong to assume that you can follow all this in the pdf. That is what I am using.

Page 680

[6th century AD]PLond 1708

Translation: my own (Baldwin's)

"acted on his own authority"

However, if you read the context, it clearly means that this man defrauded his family of money. It is not about someone who has authority, but someone who cheats. It is a very negative use of the word, but it is made to look better by Baldwin's translation.

page 681

[6th century AD] Jeanne Maspero

"have authority in any fashion to detach outright goods of any kind from any manner of my estate."

Once again, Baldwin has provided his own translation, thus creating the English phrase "have authority" where anyone else coming on this sentence might say that the wife is not to "defraud the husband in any fashion" by detaching goods from his estate.

These two citations show a very negative meaning for authenteo, basically cheating, but Baldwin has provided his own translation of "have authority."

Next, "assume authority" in F. Schubert might more easily be translated as "take over."

page 682

"Inhuman masters will have legal authority over their servants"

Obviously a very negative use of the word. The translation "have legal authority" was created by Baldwin.

Next it is used of God having rightful power.

page 683

- God as the administrator of judgment
- not instigating unrighteousness
- compels

Almost every time the word is used as an action of a human, it denotes a very negative use, either defrauding or compelling or taking over.

I don't think that there are many cases of a human as the subject of the verb authenteo that show a worthy or rightful use of authority, in a positive sense.

Look at page 686, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew 57.239.50

About Christ it is written,

"Neither doth he work all things as one who acted by His own power"

So of Christ on earth is is said that he did not authenteo. This is extremely important. No human being can ever rightly authenteo, not even Christ. This word means "to act on one's own authority" rather than on authority derived from God. That is why no human should ever authenteo (take charge of) another.

I have no difficulty using the complete study of Baldwin. The vast weight of the evidence is that authenteo reflects the negative use of power in human hands. It means to act as if you were God to other human beings. It is the illegitimate use of power.

--------

On arche, ruler is not one of the meanings of arche, nor do I suppose that Adam is our ruler. Do you see Adam as our ruler?

_______

Now the real issue is this. God is always the ruler and the one with absolute power.

However, when Christ became human and gave up power, he then became the second Adam and the head of man, but not until then.

Christ had all power, but when he died and sacrificed himself, he became the head of the church.

If being head was about power, then the scriptures would simply say that as God is to humans so is a husband to his wife. But the scriptures say that husband is to wife as Christ (in human form and surrendering his life) is to the church. Man is to woman, as the second Adam is to man in Christ, the origin of all humans, as the first Adam was to all humans.

If Christ had not died then man could have absolute power over woman. Then woman would be bound to obey her absolute human lord. But God came as the dying one, the one who gave up power, and man stands to woman as the one who imitates Christ.

Otherwise woman would be the footstool of man. That is the subordination of woman.

But Christ has redeemed us, his work buys us out of bondage, both male and female. He redeems woman, not so she can be at the beck and call of capricious man, but so she can recognize that woman is of the same species as man and respect man as the one who shares his nature with her.

I simply don't believe that the best women get our of Christianity is that they are to be dominari by men.

How I wish for some brotherhood or communion that crosses over from man to woman. Do men really treat women the way that they wish to be treated? Can't a man ever look at a woman and think of how he would want to treated f he were a woman. Is there to be no "sympathy" between men and women.

I wish we could discuss what Christ really is to us, and what he became in his life on earth. Christ made himself equal to humans to save them. Men need to deprive themselves of power over women.

There is no reason why the wife of an unenlightened man should be deprived by her husband of further education or developing her gifts through work or hobby. But if the life of every woman is put under the authority of her husband, many women will not have the free will to do very simple things in life. This may be absurd, but sadly true. Should we not attempt to ameliorate these things? Should we not interact with each other as those who share a common human nature?

10:28 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Clement's Stromata, in Greek. (LARGE PDF!)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Suzanne,

I'll try to follow up with your latest comments tomorrow. For now, I must to bed! Good night.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yes, Clement, Chrysostom and other church fathers are all fully patriarchal, as are the Reformesr. They accepted the status quo power structures. I don't doubt it. But we see, running parallel to this, the fact that the Greek language does not have one unique patriarchal meaning. The patriarvhy is interpretation.

For Clement, the husband had authority since that is the way his society was structured. But the Greek words do not "militate" that the husband must have such power.

Do we uphold the doctrine of the church as one body on earth? No. Do we uphold the power of the Roman emperor, or the divine right of kings? No. Do we uphold the power of slave owners? No. But you could find support for most of these things in the church fathers.

The scriptures can be cultural and uphold the power of one human over another, or they can be counter cultural, and lift up those without power and give them equal dignity.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

The scriptures can be cultural and uphold the power of one human over another, or they can be counter cultural, and lift up those without power and give them equal dignity.

The scriptures can be used to support cultural structures or tear them down. What did the reformers and the abolitionists do?

10:42 PM  
Blogger Greg Anderson said...

For Kyle on 1 Cor. 14:34,

I must take issue with yours, and Dr. Grudem's thesis that the Apostle is reaffirming a generalized Old Testament stricture which silences women.

What I do see Paul doing in these passages however, is soundly refuting the Talmudic Judaizers who had crept into the Corinthian congregation.

Until you or Dr. Grudem can come up with the actual goods in the way of scripture which silences women in the assembly of believers, I shall remain unconvinced that Paul is muzzling Godly women in any shape or fashion.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Suzanne,

I didn't rule out the other 79 citations. Others have.

You are the one who said, "To me it lists 79 irrelevant citations" and "Perhaps people feel that a study with 82 examples is significant but, in fact, only three are relevant." It may be you aren't the only one, but it seems to be the case that you yourself dismiss Baldwin's 79 other citations. But let's get on with the show, shall we?

Page 680

[6th century AD]PLond 1708

Translation: my own (Baldwin's)

"acted on his own authority"

However, if you read the context, it clearly means that this man defrauded his family of money. It is not about someone who has authority, but someone who cheats. It is a very negative use of the word, but it is made to look better by Baldwin's translation.


One can misuse legitimate authority. So the sense of auqentew here is not necessarily negative. Baldwin notes, "Preisigke lists this reference, along with PMasp 67151.174 below, under 'verfügungsberechtigt sein' ('having legitimate authority to dispose' [of something])."

The same note applies, therefore, to your next example:

page 681

[6th century AD] Jeanne Maspero

"have authority in any fashion to detach outright goods of any kind from any manner of my estate."

Once again, Baldwin has provided his own translation, thus creating the English phrase "have authority" where anyone else coming on this sentence might say that the wife is not to "defraud the husband in any fashion" by detaching goods from his estate.


And frankly, I cannot see how one must look at auqentew as being purely negative. The husband is not granting his wife the right to take his goods to herself. Even if we grant, for argument's sake, that here it is definitely negative, we could say that this is regarding something to which she has no right at all in the first place, which meaning could just as well work in I Tim. 2 and maintain the traditional reading. Indeed, Paul certainly is not suggesting that it is legitimate for women to auqentein men; he is expressly prohibiting it. I will come back again to this below.

Next, "assume authority" in F. Schubert might more easily be translated as "take over."

Maybe, but it's quite evident the speaker is requesting (!) that his hearer take authority, or assume jurisdiction, in the matter before them, to bring it to a resolution. How is this "negative"?

page 682

"Inhuman masters will have legal authority over their servants"

Obviously a very negative use of the word. The translation "have legal authority" was created by Baldwin.


No, not obviously. Baldwin gives a cogent explanation of his translation in the footnote. His argument is that the sense of auqentew is itself neutral. It's like saying that white slaveholders had legal authority over their black slaves. The expression, "had legal authority," is itself neutral.

Almost every time the word is used as an action of a human, it denotes a very negative use, either defrauding or compelling or taking over.

I don't think that there are many cases of a human as the subject of the verb authenteo that show a worthy or rightful use of authority, in a positive sense.


A good example is on pg. 684, the second quotation from Basil's Letters:

"It seemed to us advisable in the circumstances, moreover, to write to the bishop of Rome, that he may examine into the state of affairs here, and give us his opinion, so that, as it is difficult to send men to Rome by a general synodical decree, he may himself exercise full authority in this matter, by selecting men capable of enduring the hardships of a journey."

And this is a good two centuries earlier than the citations which you've said are purely negative.

The second citation from Chrysostom on pg. 685 is also rather telling: "Because she once exercised authority wrongly." "Wrongly" is actually in the Greek, kakws modifying auqentew. Or we can see Chrysostom on pg. 686 in his Homily on Psalm 92: "Just like the sunbeam I toil—but not like God do I reign." The sense of auqentew here is certainly not negative, or else God would be impugned by analogy. Still further, Chrysostom again, pg. 687, in his Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles: "For observe, there were an hundred and twenty, and he asks for one out of the whole body: with good right, as having been put in charge of them." This is said with referrence to Peter. And the same golden-mouthed preacher on pg. 689, from About Martha, Mary, and Lazarus: "Elijah raised the dead, but nevertheless he did not reign." (Although it must be admitted, most of these are Baldwin's own translation.)

I could go on, as Baldwin provides many other citations, and it cannot be argued that these are all purely negative with referrence to human subjects of auqentew.

Look at page 686, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew 57.239.50

About Christ it is written,

"Neither doth he work all things as one who acted by His own power"

So of Christ on earth is is said that he did not authenteo. This is extremely important. No human being can ever rightly authenteo, not even Christ.


It does not says that Christ flatly did not auqentew. It says that Christ did not work all things in this manner. Otherwise, "nor doth He all things with prayer" means that Christ did not pray, and that would make nonsense of the passage. Your theological deduction is therefore without basis.

On arche, ruler is not one of the meanings of arche,

Can it not have this meaning, at least in the plural? E.g., Col. 1:16.

nor do I suppose that Adam is our ruler. Do you see Adam as our ruler?

In a sense, although being dead he can hardly auqentew. ;) But yes, Adam is the covenantal head of humanity. This is why Adam is rebuked for listening to his wife" when he ought to have exercised his appropriate authority over her to prevent her from eating the fruit of the tree. But Adam sinned, and so all humanity in him God regards as having sinned, by Adam's headship over humanity. For this reason a new Head is required for those who wish to escape condemnation, and that is Christ.

As for the rest, you characterize my position in the most tendentious way. I can hardly continue a discussion with you at this rate.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Greg,

I must take issue with yours, and Dr. Grudem's thesis that the Apostle is reaffirming a generalized Old Testament stricture which silences women.

What I do see Paul doing in these passages however, is soundly refuting the Talmudic Judaizers who had crept into the Corinthian congregation.


So, his refutation of the Talmudic Judaizers is to prohibit women from speaking in church, as in all the churches of the saints, because it would be disgraceful for them to do so? Please, expand upon your interpretation, because at the moment I can make head nor tail of it.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Even if we grant, for argument's sake, that here it is definitely negative, we could say that this is regarding something to which she has no right at all in the first place, which meaning could just as well work in I Tim. 2 and maintain the traditional reading. Indeed, Paul certainly is not suggesting that it is legitimate for women to auqentein men; he is expressly prohibiting it. I will come back again to this below.

I did say I would come back to this. Let's go a bit further and allow, for arguments' sake, that auqentein in I Tim. 2:12 is purely negative, and that Paul thinks that there is legitimate place in the church for women to exercise authority over men. Then what on earth does his reasoning in the next two verses mean?

4:44 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kyle,

One cannot prove that authenteo is purely negative. To me it appears clear that a negative use of authenteo is more likely than a positive use. The scriptures never tell men to authenteo. In fact, the context of those citations indicated that it was normally something that one ought not to do. In the one case, there was an invitation for one person to "take over" authority. Yes, but that again is not a right that women argue for.

The context of "master of slaves", "taking over power" from someone else, is simply not the same thing as what a male elder normally does as his function in the church. It is not the normal word for being a Christian leader.

In fact, the scriptures also never tell men to exousiazo another Christian except in a reciprocal relationship.

Therefore, all proof of male authority must derive from other scriptures or other words. Kephale likewise. Some later writers interpreted it as authority and others as origin/source.

There is simply no contemporary proof to establish one unique unambiguous meaning for either kephale or authenteo. I fault the studies because they give impression that the evidence is conclusive when it is not.

Yes, arche (plural) does have the meaning of "powers" but the singular was not used with the meaning "ruler". Adam was indeed our origin and if ruler, his rulership was not active. It is an interpretation, not the plain meaning of the text.

There is no way that I can disprove the patriarchal interpretation. However, I can say that a person can be a Bible believing Christian and understand that woman is of the same nature as man, and is to be treated as an equal.

There is nothing anti-Christian about treating a woman as an equal, or allowing her to lead and teach.

Over the centuries, the power of the church hierarchy has been reduced. We are no longer obligatory members of a territorial church because of our place of birth. We now have democratic government, with the right to vote on the govt. Do Christian men give up the right to vote? No. Do we uphold slavery because the scriptures teach it? No.

I do not believe that the subordination of women existed before the fall. I believe that women, redeemed by Christ are redeemed out of the bondage of obedience to men. They are rather to enter into a reciprocal and faithful monogamy as 1 Cor. 7 teaches.

There are many different ways to interpret scripture. The different denominations demonstrate this and baptism is a good example. If one possible interpretation is that women are equal, then why wouldn't a woman want to be treated as an equal. Women actually need to be protectors and providers of their family. They must bear equal responsibility as the men, so why should they not have equal authority to go along with the equal responsibility?

Don't forget that half of women are now single although this is not their choice. Many women in the scriptures were also single and supported families.

The teaching of male authority is more or less irrelevant to women who have to support their families. They may model submission to male authority in church but no male makes a sacrifice for them. They reap no benefit from male authority. It is not for their good.

If men claim that they derive spiritual authority from the fact that some men serve in the military and risk their lives, I can only ask if it isn't true that many more women risk their own life and health in childbirth. We give out of our complementarity, but it is not an excuse to subordinate one sex.

Is it simply impossible for men to think of treating a woman as a functional equal? Where will you all go if a woman leads the country?

Why not enter into kindly fellowship with women, instead of trying to subordinate them? Do you reject all the woman missionaries of the last few centuries, the one who preached to the sultan in the 17th century, those who evangelized my province of BC visiting farmhouses during the week and preaching and teaching on Sundays. What about those who were saved through women preaching? Will we see them in heaven?

7:46 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Suzanne,

Unfortunately, I have nothing more to discuss with you. It is obvious we are at an impasse. And since you are prone to characterizing my position as tendentiously as you have, I have no desire to engage you further at this time.

I wish you well, and may God bless you.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thank you Kyle for the interaction. We are indeed at an impasse.

Good evening.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Interesting blog. While I find that doctrinally I agree with the views, I'm disheartened by the tone. It is tough to see rough treatment toward brothers and sisters in the Lord. Particularly a better exchange with Ryan from the Missoula Project would have been good to see, IMHO.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
"Yes, Clement, Chrysostom and other church fathers are all fully patriarchal, as are the Reformesr. They accepted the status quo power structures. I don't doubt it."
Wow. Is there an outside possibility that they were acting biblically and that those who disagree with their interpretation call them "patriarchal"?
Again, you are flying in the face of a long line of solid exegesis and hermeneutics. You're sounding more and more like a female version of N.T. Wright, discovering what St. Paul "really" said.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

They accepted the status quo power structures. I don't doubt it.

I stand by this.

Consider the visible church as one body on earth, the absolute monarchy (do not touch the Lord's anointed, and so on) slavery, all these things.

And yet, here we are in country created by men who revolted against the monarchy, against the "church" and against the British empire, and a land that eventually set slaves free, although only after much difficulty.

Power structures were maintained and then one by one, these struactures have been made responsible and responsive. The bondage of personal life long obligatory obedience (24/7) has been done away with for men, but not for women.

Some women are still bound by a vow of obedience and some suffer the abridgment of their human rights, some women are not given the right by their "leader/husband" to vote for the candidate of their choice, or engage in further education.

Other women live their entire lives as the sole providers and protectors of their families and are never recognized as such by the church.

If you know a woman who supports her disabled husband and her children, do you believe that she is less worthy of authority than a man? Does one have to be biologically male and a provider to meet the standards of church leadership or just male. What does the male part contribute, if I may ask? Did not God talk about his female parts, doesn't God have a womb?

I am uneducated in feminism but I believe this is an accurate reference to God in the scriptures.

I was raised in a family where women reading Greek was passed down from one generation to the next. These women lived the gospel of the Reformation, passed down from woman to woman.

I am unimpressed by the fact that men have translated the Bible to their advantage from one generation to the next. That just shows one of the weaknesses of male only theology.

I invite you to read this post of mine. where I outline a very few of the simple biases of English Bible translation.

Each generation of men have their specific ways of introducing non literal phrases and translations into Bible versions to reduce the role of women. Think of Junia, Prisca, and Nympha, all of whom have been made into men at some point to avoid recognizing the leadership of women.

On the other hand, I don't remember reading a Bible translation that made a man into a woman - Paul into Paula for example. No, I think not!

The most disturbing bias introduced recently is in 2 Tim. 2:2 where the word "men" is used to indicate the male, when the Greek word is "anthropos." Compare with the German, would they get away with inserting "Manner" into this verse? I don't think so.

When are men going to give women basic fair treatment? A minmum of honesty? Up to now many men have used their position of authority to demote women and put them down. Some men nave not yet earned the trust of women.

Again, I appreciate the fact that you are allowing me to at least present a small part of my case.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I see I missed putting in the link. I hope this works.

Here are a few examples.

Rom. 16:7

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. KJV (more literal)

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. ESV

Titus 2:4-5

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. KJV

and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. ESV (more literal)

Col. 4:15

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house KJV

Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. ESV (more accurate, except that brothers should read brothers and sisters!)

Psalm 68:11

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. KJV

The Lord gives the word;
the women who announce the news are a great host: ESV (more literal)

The question really is whether men, throughout church history have proven themselves to be faithful in terms of translating the scriptures for women. Or do women need to make their "voice" heard. Maybe that is not just a feminist construct but pragmatic need.

PS Have you had "and sisters" added to the pew Bibles in your church yet? ;-) Or or lexicons servants only and not masters?

9:22 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Suzanne,
I'm off to another article. I'm done here, but in parting I would like to point out that in all your intellectual gymnastics you have not come up with one example of a female pastor or Elder. Lots of words, lots of circling around the topic, but very, very thin on pertinent examples. Clement is not Paul or Moses. He remains an extra-biblical source. In general, there is nothing wrong with citing an extra-biblical source; they can be quite helpful at times. Anyway, thanks for the conversation.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ron,

I have politely allowed the conversation to progress from one thing to the next without moving ahead.

Now, in retrospect you dismiss me for lack of something you never asked about.

I can only ask out of curiosity why Junia, Nympha and Prisca were made into men by the scribes? Was it not because they were perceived as being in a leadership position? What about the "elect lady"?

And the leading women among the Greeks, and Phoebe? Do we know she was not a deacon or a temple leader, as prostatis might suggest?

We really don't know. We don't know of any slaves who became pastors either. In fact, we know the official titles of few men other than the apostles.

You seem to have plenty of time to blog about women staying in some imaginary and culturally created box. You should get to know a few women of history.

I should introduce you to Evas Hasell and the caravanners, women from England who came to British Columbia and traveled about the north, first hiking then on horseback and in jeeps. They trained as mechanics and traveled in twos, from farm to farm, in the days before the US military moved in and created the deluxe Alaska highway.

They were given lay reader licenses to baptize and preach in the churches.

Let me emphasize that these women did not need the US military to open the way for them to preach the gospel. They were leaders and not followers.

Do you believe that Christ will have his reprimands ready for these women of the gospel? Or do you presume to scold women whom Christ honours?

Are women only fit to preach on the frontier where they move ahead of men?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I saw that I mistyped Eva Hasell's name. She started first a Sunday school mission, then a mission "for women by women", but as there was no male clergy in much of the area that this mission served, the women were given layreaders licenses to preach.

This is of special interest to me, since I have met some of those who were converted by these missionary women. One elderly man, a neighbour, died just this week.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Pastor St. John said...

I put a link to your post on my new female deacon/deaconess site...

http://www.waysidechurch.org/femdeacs/blogs.htm

1:47 PM  

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