In posting some personal favorites I found something I wrote in October of 2006 and decided to re-post it in the "Personal Favorites" I'm doing this summer. What do you think?
I guess I would need to confess to a transition going on in my own understanding of this gender issue controversy. I’ve had questions and have heard others raise the same questions that, for biblical and personal ethics, I would have to have answers for in order to come down biblically on the side of a male dominated society, home, or church from this Christian’s perspective. I will briefly mention a few of those questions.
My question about the Covenants is one. My understanding of the Covenants requires me to carefully think through the uniqueness of the New Covenant. I see how the Old covenant established between God and Israel was based generally on gender, age, and race or at least evolved into such. So if, as one said, you were an “old Jewish guy” you had it made in the realm of authority. But, I have a question about the New Covenant promised for the latter days and written in hearts, to be ratified by the Blood of Christ. Was it not to be based on something other than gender, age or race and was it not for something other than an “authority” thing? Was it not a servant thing instead so that the greatest in the New Covenant was, in fact, the greatest servant?
Thus “sons and daughters,” when it finally came, were said to be able to prophecy, “young men and old men” were able to dream dreams, and of course the gentiles were included. So it was the work of the Spirit that set all that in motion with His more than adequate authority. It was NOT people in an office or a sex, age, or race thing that were inherently authoritative. Could it be that things are to continue in that fashion when the text is truly understood?
I have a question about Pheobe and some other women in the New Testament. Was not she said to be a servant? It is translated “deacon” when used of a man and would not be deaconness since there was no feminine for of the word. I’m wondering if this was more a King James era thing.
One other woman was said to be a “helper” [different word] which is translated when used of men…”overseer." This is spoken of the woman who ministered with Paul. Did she give oversight to his ministry? Or is it again a King James thing? Or is there a New Covenant thing presented in the text when carefully studied? Just wondering.
I have my 1 Timothy 2:12 question. Paul used a the word “authority” here that is used no where else in scripture. Not even in the Septuagint. It was, I have found, a street word. [Sorry, I’m not at my library at the moment to give specifics.] It was a word with perhaps sexual overtones, so could it be that it makes sense for Paul, under inspiration, to say this to the pastor [Timothy] of a church filled with women saved out of the mystery religions which used sexuality to control men. Old patterns don’t die easily even after you become a believer. I would think Paul had a need to address it, if this is, in fact, what he’s saying…”I suffer not a woman to take charge over a man in an unseemly [my toned down word] manner. Good advise for all women of all ages in church life but a sure good word to pastor Timothy and the church in Ephesus.
Then there is that ever present question about Genesis chapter one. I do believe the pattern was established in Genesis 1 where “He said to “them” have dominion and to “them” to multiply and to “them” to care for the garden. It looks to me to be at least a partnership going on. Of course, the fall messed it up and both now try to “be in charge,” her by “desiring her husband” [the meaning is not Godly but taking charge] but, rain on that, he will “rule” over her. [the meaning is as a despot.] So both are pretty well messed up by now.
But hang on, God straightened it up in Ephesians 5 where all are told to submit to one another and to serve one another in the power of the Spirit as they are walking in Him. [It's the New Covenant remember. ]
It’s the authority thing that keeps throwing me. What does all this mean in the realm of authority? I understand things in servanthood terms. I heard one fellow say one the Gen.1/Ephensians 5 passages present a graceful way of living but the “who’s the boss” thing [Gen. 2@3] presents a curseful way of living. Christians are to live in grace [Of course.] and NOT according to the curse. [Of course not.] I wonder if he might be right?
Then there is my final question about this "woman being created second" thinking. I haven’t yet grasp this thing of man being created first and woman coming from man and how that sets up an authority thing. No doubt he was and she did, but since that original creation moment, every man has come from a woman. Not a lot of bragging room there.
Of course they, [the mystery religions of Ephesus] did believe woman was created first by their gods and were far superior to males. Paul was sure setting them straight on creation and the craziness of this “woman is superior” stuff. Now if we could just get believers to get as straight on men not being superior either just because they were created first. Different of course, I thank the Lord for that. Different capabilities too. I’ve not yet given birth to a child. But in Kingdom stuff the Spirit is the gifter, decider, authority, power, and sender of of all ministry. At least it seems to me.
What I have said has all been said by those better than I am at explaining things. Right now I am just presenting some questions SOMEBODY will have to help me through before I can come down on the side of male authority because of the male gender.
Loving people who differ in opinions about it all is no problem for me. But being told I'm not a good baptist unless I hold one or the other is a bit much for me personally. [Being the good baptist I am.]
So, without my being dogmatic and until I get some adequate answers for my questions, I’ll trust my local fellowship and myself to study, dialogue, decide, and follow the Lord as we see and hear Him, all the while walking in love and in step presenting the gospel with others who may disagree with me on issues like these…being the good baptists we are.