Are We Misreading the Bible When It Comes to Gender Roles?
In politics, so-called “third-rail issues” are policy subjects so combustible, so electric that touching them leads to sure-fire political ruin.
Today, the issue of gender roles within marriage and within the church is as equally combustible and electric. Yet in her new book Gender Roles and the People of God, Alice Mathews grabs it with both hands in order to help us rethink what we were taught about men and women.
What can we learn from Scripture and from history that will help us reach the clearest understanding of gender difference in God’s purposes for us? The journey may drive us to rethink what we’ve been taught. It may help us see what we might otherwise have missed. (16)
She begins the conversation with a…
What Do Deborah and Barak Want to Tell Complementarians and Egalitarians?
More women are occupying positions of leadership than ever before. Yet the jury seems evenly split whether such changes should be welcomed or resisted—both outside and inside the Church. As Carolyn Custis James explains in her new book Malestrom:
Plenty of Christian men welcome these changes and in fact have advocated for them. But others view the rise of women with concern, even alarm, and strive to stem the tide. The belief in a zero-sum game between the genders, where gains for women represent losses for men, makes the rise of women difficult to swallow. (98)
Alarm and advocacy, two positions on either side of the contemporary gender debate. But what does the Bible say?…
Wednesday Giveaway – Man and Woman, One in Christ
This week’s giveaway, Man and Woman, One in Christ, is the culmination of thirty-six years of studying Paul’s teachings on women and their role in the church.
In these pages author Philip Payne offers a carefully researched exegetical argument for an egalitarian reading of Paul. Though not all may agree with his conclusions, scholars on both sides of this debate have hailed his work as one of the most substantial evangelical representations of egalitarianism.
“Philip Payne’s work has always been characterized by careful, detailed exegetical study of the biblical text. In Man and Woman, One in Christ, Payne brings decades of meticulous…
Wednesday Giveaway – How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership
Bill and Lynne Hybels, I. Howard Marshall, John and Nancy Ortberg, and Cornelius Plantinga – though from diverse backgrounds these evangelicals all share a common story, a story in which they changed their long held views about women in leadership.
Today you have a chance to win a copy of their collected stories, along with the stories of many others, in today’s giveaway How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership.
Often times this debate is a matter of abstract argument, and though there is a place for that most would agree that stories and experiences also play a role in how we…
Changing their Minds about Women in Leadership
“Mine is the story of a man whose wife led her very reluctant husband out of the traditional views that he had been raised to accept without questioning to a position where he embraced the concept that men and women are equally made in God's image and that God's redemptive goal is that there should be no gender restrictions on women in church leadership and that the biblical model for husband/wife relationships is mutual submission.
While she was researching her book, it was Pat's probing questions to which I had no good answers that eventually led me to conclusions that were radically different than those with which I had been raised.”
– Stan Gundry in How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership
There are many books, such as One In Christ or Two Views on Women in Ministry, that look at the theology and exegesis behind the question of whether or not there is a Biblical warrant for women to be in church leadership.
The recently released How I Changed My Mind certainly addresses some of those issues, but primarily it is about testimony, the testimony of those who have moved from a complementarian to an egalitarian position.
Excerpt and Reviews: “Man and Woman, One in Christ”
While working through Man and Woman, One in Christ I came across an argument I'd not considered before.
While discussing 1st Timothy and the legacy of Timothy's mother and grandmother Payne points out that "Paul praised these two women for their part in making the sacred writings known to Timothy 'from infancy', a phrase expressing when their teaching began but giving no indication that it stopped at any point in Timothy's life" pg. 330
Does it seem to you that this is what’s happening in this passage?
If Timothy, a great leader in the early church, was accepting teaching from wiser women does that re-contextualize the seemingly restrictive regulations for women we read elsewhere in the…
Interview with Philip Payne – Man and Woman, One in Christ
James 3—Brothers and “Sisters” as Teachers? Commentary and Discussion with Craig Blomberg
Over a period of five weeks, we've asked Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell to blog through the book of James. Their commentary, the first in the ZECNT series, will release at the ETS and SBL annual meetings, beginning Nov. 19. This third post, written by Craig, looks at James 3.
Most evangelicals have come to recognize that it is perfectly acceptable and often desirable to translate adelphoi in the plural into English as “brothers and sisters” in contexts in the New Testament where it is unambiguous that men and women alike are being addressed. But James 3:1 is more ambiguous. The NET Bible renders it, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly.” The NLT, TNIV and NRSV likewise all employ “brothers and sisters.”
Some argue, however, along the following lines. (1) We know that the first Christian generation did not have female teachers. (2) Including “sisters” as part of the translation of James 3:1 suggests that they did. Therefore, (3) translations such as the four mentioned above are seriously in error at this point and should be shunned.
There are so many holes in the “logic” of this “argument” that one barely knows where to start. But let’s take the three points in order.
Obama, Palin, and the Complementarian-Egalitarian Debate — By Mark L. Strauss
Even if you hate politics, it’s hard to deny that the race for the White House is going to make for entertaining theater over the next seven weeks.
Having a young, articulate, dynamic African-American on the ticket would be enough to make this an interesting and exciting election. One of the most telling moments of the campaign for me was to see the faces of African-Americans—especially children and young people—when Barack Obama was nominated at the Democratic National Convention. Whatever their political views, there were obvious feelings of pride and relief. There was a palpable sense that perhaps the abiding legacy of slavery, segregation and prejudice could actually be overcome in America. Maybe it really was true that anyone, whatever their race, color or background, could rise to the highest office in the land.
White evangelicals who don’t understand this sense of pride and joy (“But he’s so liberal!” they say) don’t realize how much their own worldview affects the way they see the world. It reminded me of the day the verdict was given in the first O.J. Simpson trial. Whites were generally shocked and dismayed that this “obviously guilty” man was let off. But most blacks I saw expressed relief and even joy. The innocence or guilt of one man was almost irrelevant compared to the history of injustice, oppression, and prejudice (even lynchings) that characterized so much of white-black relations in this country. To see that cycle broken—whether justly or not—brought a sense of relief.
So having an African-American so close to the highest office in the land makes this a landmark election—no matter what your political views.
Then came Sarah Palin. Now the race is about both race and gender. It is not just that Sarah Palin is a woman—though that is significant enough. It is that she is a very conservative, traditional-values woman. And suddenly the world seems to be turned upside down. I have heard left-leaning feminists say that this woman, with five children, a Down’s Syndrome baby, and a pregnant seventeen year-old daughter needs to be at home caring for her family, not out on the road stumping. Then I hear traditional-values focused-on-the-family conservative evangelicals saying “Sure she can have it all: family, career, politics.”
Someone recently directed me to the CBMC (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) website. CBMW is the most influential complementarian organization among evangelicals. (Complementarians believe that God has ordained distinct roles for men and women in the church and the home. Men are to assume leadership roles while women take on more supportive and nurturing roles. Egalitarians, by contrast, believe that in the new age of salvation inaugurated by Christ, the roles of women and men are based entirely on giftedness and not on gender. [I consider myself a moderate complementarian, or perhaps a “complegalitarian.”])
I was interested to see on the CBMW website several articles discussing the “Sarah Palin predicament,” with titles like “Does Sarah Palin present a Dilemma for Complementarians?” Can those who argue that God has created men for leadership and women for supportive roles still support Sarah Palin for a position that could well lead to the most powerful leadership position in the world (and leadership over millions of males!)?
Questions one article raised are these: “Can a woman preside over the Senate but not teach a Bible study for men? Do complementarians really believe that a woman could lead a country but not a local church?” The general consensus of these articles is that the Bible’s commands about men and women apply only to the church and the home, not to civic or any other leadership positions. This is not about leadership per se, and about spiritual leadership.