Sunday, March 04, 2007

Contra Feminism: Ministry & Behavior (Updated)

[continued from here, here and here]

As I have started also in the book review of Mary A. Kassian's book The Feminist Gospel, women are not allowed to be pastors, elders and deacons (or any unscriptural clergy positions created by denominational hierarchy). This came about by explicit command from Scripture, which can be expressively seen in 1 Tim. 11-14, which we have discussed before, and noted that the basis for such prohibition is the Creation order, and also that Eve was the one deceived, while Adam was not deceived (v. 14), but instead compromised.

With this said, let us look at the behavior of women:

the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. (1 Cor. 14:34)

likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Tim. 2:9-15)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 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. (Titus 2:3-5)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:1-6)

Now, I will not be looking at the subject of head covering (1 Cor. 11:2-16), except to say that the main concern Paul was having is that women are to be subjected to their husbands and that the basis of this is the Creation order also. According to Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry Commentary), the expression of it is cultural (head coverings), but the principle underlying it is not, which sounds reasonable. Nevertheless, let us look at the other verses.

In the other verses quoted above, one thing which is emphasized is that women are to be silent (1 Cor. 14:34) and to learn quietly (1 Tim. 2:11). This is said against women who think they can preach and teach in the assemblies which is not biblical as it usurp the authorities of the ministers of God, not that women are to be 'gagged' in churches. Another thing which women are to do are to adorn themselves with good works and not by exterior jewellery, clothing etc. (1 Tim. 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:1-4), which refocuses women onto the things which are truly beautiful instead of all the exterior and superficial useless stuff. In 1 Peter 3:5-6, adorning herself with good works also include obeying her husband, which Scripture commands the wives to do.

With regards to ministry of women, women are allowed and encouraged to teach... younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Basically, besides the leadership and preaching minstry in the church, all other positions are available to them to serve the Lord in. That said, however, I would like to add that since men are supposed to lead the church, I guess there is something really wrong when we are more interested in training up women by giving them certain ministry opportunities (i.e. leadership in various committees in the church etc.) rather than to men, all things being equal. This is not to say that all leaders should thus be men, but that men should have priority, since the church needs to be always building up and training leaders and pastors for the next generation, and also for more people to work in the Lord's harvest field (Jn. 4:35), and what better way than to groom them through service in the smaller things first (Mt. 25:21, 23)?

Now, this I think is a practical application for us modern Evangelicals regarding what the Scriptures tell about the roles of men and women. Serving in various ministry environments, situations and with different people, I have seen so far that there tends to be a tendency towards selecting women in various leadership positions in non-Reformed circles. This is especially so if the 'top guy' is a male, and thus perhaps the thinking is that women are needed to provide a 'balanced' perspective? I wouldn't want to speculate into what I don't know for sure, but at least in some circumstances, such a motive for choosing the 'next in command' is too obvious for anyone not to notice. Now, this is not an indictment against godly women in those non-ecclesiastical, 'non-authoritative' leadership positions, and some of them truly love the Lord and serve Him sacrificially, and they are to respected for their service and sacrifice unto the Lord. However, due in part to feminist influences in the churches, consciously or sub-consciously, we want to have a 'gender-balanced' ministry, so therefore if the 'top guy' is a guy, then the next in command should ideally be a woman and vice versa, which is obviously NOT a biblical perspective. Additionally, because of the fact that guys generally tend to be busier in their work etc. and thus tend to have less time to serve God, women tend to more available to serve God.

This is complicated further in the modern effeminate Christian religion, which is based on emotions and feelings more than facts, logic, doctrines, and sacrifice to the point of matrydom (true biblical Christianity). Thus, it isn't surprising that women seem to be easier to be nurtured in the Lord than men, who are basically under-nourished in most (and especially non-Reformed) churches. In the end, the cycle perpetutes itself, less and less men are found to be capable of leadership, and the godless culture always helps to promote such decline. The sad part is that most people don't even know the reason for such a decline, and the churches, prefering to take the easy way out, rather appoint women leaders than to take the large amount of time, effort and energy required to train up its men.

In conclusion, we have seen what the Bible says about the roles of and relationships between men and women in the Creation order, the curses brought about by the Fall, and within the redeemed community. Also, we have seen the biblical behavior of women and their ministry limitations. As an application, it is my hope that ministry opportunities in churches should be re-thought through, and that churches should put in more effort to train up her men on the full counsel of God, not the effeminate partial version of Christianity which starves us. Through all this, may we come to know and reflect Christ in our relationships with each other and our roles as men and women of God.


vincit omnia veritas said...

Just curious brother, may I know if you have come to a conclusion with regard to 1 Cor. 11:2-16 and head covering? How would you exegete this passage? Remember that if you follow those who explain the head covering as a cultural peculiarity, you must also explain why the rest of 1 Cor. 11 is not a cultural practice. Also, would you understand the covering in verses 5-6 as hair, rather than a physical veil or covering?

Hear from you! You may write me privately via email when you are free, or better still, call me!

PS: It is sad that most churches just choose to ignore this passage of Scripture.

ddd said...

Hello Vincent,

no, I have not come to a conclusion wrt 1 Cor. 11:2-16. Perhaps you can exposit on these verses over at your blog?

vincit omnia veritas said...

Haha ... I think my position is very clear - my wife wears a head covering for service weekly.

I had read most commentaries on this issue, and all good expositors generally agree that the covering is not hair. Otherwise, verses 5-6 are ridiculous. The way they get around the requirement of 1 Cor. 11:2-16 is to say that it is probably tradition. But again, that is perhaps worse than saying that the covering is hair. Where in the text does it say that the covering is a temporal, traditional requirement? Paul argues that the churches, in fact, have no other tradition than to put on the head covering. Jewish worship requires man to wear a pretty “hat.” That is considered inappropriate according to Paul. So, if it is traditional, then Paul might argue for hats for men. Food for though. :)