Buried Treasure

In The Message we find the story about investment.  If you haven’t read it from The Message, you are missing something very important.  Read Matthew 25:24-30 (The Message – Eugene H Peterson Navpress)

“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. The he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: “Good work!  You did your job well. From now on be my partner.”

The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner!”

The servant given one thousand said, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no alliances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”

The master was furious. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do no less than the least? The least you cold have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

“Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “Play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.”

  • But you say “Paul said that women must remain silent” – There are 6,000,000,000 people in the world who need the gospel – Risk it!
  • But you say “Paul said that women are not to have authority over men” – There are 6,000,000,000 people in the world who need the gospel, and one-half of them are men – Risk it!
  • But you say “Paul said that women are to submit to their husbands” – God knows that all husbands are not worthy of submission to, and to elevate all men to god-like status is wrong, but if you still believe it – Risk it!

Are you ready to quit playing it safe?  Are you ready to go out on a limb?  Over one-half of the Master’s children have been buried in the sand.  We have misjudged the Master. In the quest to be “exactly” right regarding what a woman can do and what a woman can’t do, we have put her in the sand, and covered her up according to our own particular beliefs.

Some have dug the hole deep.  Some not so deep.  But no matter what depth the hole, they have kept watch over it and not allowed women to come out.

God forgive us! What awful things have been done to your female children.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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72 Responses to Buried Treasure

  1. TL says:

    great post. Yes, let’s risk our freedom and speak out for freedom for all.

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  2. Mabel says:

    Another version of the story is: one of the servants was a woman, and the other 2 servants forced her to bury her talents. When the master comes back, he threw the 2 servants who put hand cuffs on the woman servant out into utter darkness, and gave her everything.

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  3. Marg says:

    Great post. Shared it on facebook and twitter.

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    • Barney & Co says:

      You ask which side I am on; I do not feel the need to be on any side except that of the Word of God. As one who has a majority of females in his family as well as in his social circle, I am NOT against females, I am as much against feminism as I am against masculinism; as far as the Holy Scriptures allow women can do very much. It is often overlooked that females have the greatest vocation among the genders, a child learns best at mother’s lap; hence, at all the stages of a female’s development and [sorry] in the pre-adult stages of a male, she (the woman) is the main person of influence; however, at puberty and beyond the boy has to learn different things than girls. Did I love my mum when I became an adult, you bet ya. But I also had to learn to be a man, and that my father took care of – even to the extent that he made me to learn cooking and other household tasks, so that I could do them when required in case of independent living and in case I had to physically support a wife with a new child. Am I pro-feminist? NO! Am I pro-masculinist? NO again. I am merely a Bible studying Christian who loves the Word of God.

      Barney

      Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

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      • Barney, the Word of God is like a double-edged sword. Sharp on both sides. Just as you believe that your side is sharper, I believe that my side is sharper.

        Don’t give me that crap about women being soooooo favored with their vocation of birthing and raising children. We have already seen that Jesus gave the Word that He was the Messiah to a woman and He didn’t mention childbirth, and that he told a woman that he was the Risen Christ and He didn’t mention childbirth. Let’s not mix the physical with the spiritual.

        You say you are not on any side, but your language belies you. “as far as the Holy Scriptures allow women can do very much.” See that limit there? You have just limited women to what? Each church decides how far they are going to let women go. How far has your church decided to let women go? Not the whole way, I can guarantee you. So how can the Word of God be so indecisive? In Scott’s Church of Christ, they can say “Amen!” but they can’t vote on the budget. I can’t find that anywhere in the Word of God. But I can find the Gospel given to women with the knowledge that they would go and tell.

        Let me ask you this question: would you still love the Word of God if you came to the realization that men and women are spiritually equal before God?

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  4. Kristen says:

    I remember reading a testimony of a man (I don’t remember his name) who said he was persuaded that women should be in ministry by this very parable: for if there is judgment for burying our own talents, what shall we receive if we bury other people’s?

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    • Very good point. My pastor used this sermon text Sunday and of course my mind went completely off his sermon in this direction!

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    • Barney & Co says:

      Shirley, I’ll say again; I am NOT on either side, neither on the feminist side nor on the masculinist side! I have openly stated that I am on the side of the Word of God.

      If I could be persuaded – by Scripture – that women can speak during Divine Service, I’ll listen. However, how many of the Apostles were female? How many of the 70 (72) were named females? If Jesus had meant for females to have a leading sacerdotal role would not the Blessed Virgin be the first Pope, and Mary Magdalene an Archbishop? And finally to whom was the Great Commission addressed?

      Barney

      Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

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      • Barney, aren’t you listening to yourself? You can’t be in the middle and ask those questions. You say you are on the side of the Word of God. Well, I am, too. But I suspect that we are looking across the fence at each other. What difference does it make that no women were apostles? Where did Jesus address that question. He certainly didn’t when he spoke to the women in the cases I quoted to you, nor did he when he healed the gentile’s daughter. What does a pope have to do with this conversation? Why would anybody be made a Pope? Jesus did not ordain popes, and he certainly did not make his mother into a semi-god. He gave no high office of Pope or archbishophic to any human being. If you have read the history of the Popes you would decide like I have that most of them will probably go to hell for the way they treated people and the corruption they presided over. Baptists teach that the Great Commission was given to ALL. Only we then seek to limit the women to overseas foreign missions such as England, Scotland, Africa and South America. As long as they go to a country where people speak a different language, women can go and tell! (you see the hypocracy?) I’ve been pointing out to you where Jesus gave the gospel to women first and you dismiss that. You want to bring up the fact that only men were chosen to be disciples, and popes and archbishops. You completely ignore the gospel that was given to women. What do you think Jesus expected those women to do with that information? They went and told, which is exactly what Jesus knew they would do. The women didn’t have a cathedral, or a camp tent meeting, or a multi-million dollar monstrosity like we have today. Come to think of it, the disciples didn’t have all that stuff either, and they just went and told. As a student of the Word of God, where do you find that the Word of God is about gender? The Word of God is about God’s love for his creation. It is a story of human fallacies and God’s redemption. Gender does not fit into that. Thank you for taking the time to write. I am delighted to hear from you. Shirley

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      • Kristen says:

        Ultimately, it’s hubris to claim you are on the side of the Word of God, as opposed to someone else who is also doing her best to understand and follow the Word of God. What you’re saying is that you, the all-knowing, have absolute certainty that you have read a 2000-year-old text and without error understand completely what it was intended by God to mean for all people for all time. Are you sure? Really, really sure? Because if you are, we all should make you pope!

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      • Barney & Co says:

        Equality for WOMAN and MEN
        What does it mean and what can we do about it?
        One must see the equality issue in two areas; (i) Secular, as in the business world, in work and at play. This can be achieved by human beings through mutual co-operation. For instance during my paid working life I have worked under general direction of my area’s female Assistant Director without any problems either side. And on this I think we can come to a general understanding. But … this is not the issue. (ii) Spiritual, ecclesiastical, as in matters pertaining to the Church and it’s doctrine. Including the basis upon which the belief system and the doctrine is founded.
        Since the Reformation, denominations and sects have arisen each with its own doctrine and confessions. Some denominations arose through their effort to remove the errors which had infiltrated the Church of Rome, others went even further and changed the practice of the Christian faith even further, some to the extent that they no longer fully comply with the Holy Writ. Examples like the Sacrament of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist show the divisions that have seen the light of day. In all fairness, even though I know the denomination of the writer, she may not know mine.
        I am a Lutheran, not by birth, not by upbringing but by my own freewill choice. Among the Lutherans in my country I would be seen as an “old-Lutheran” and as a “Confessional Lutheran”; this means to me that I adhere to the Doctrine as published in the Book of Concord (Tappert edn.) particularly:
        “We believe, teach and confess that the prophetic and apostolic writing of the Old and the New Testaments are the only rule and norm by which all doctrines and teachers are to be appraised.” Formula of Concord, Epitome 1. My emphasis.
        Since retirement from paid work (1996) I have spent most of my time in studying the Word of God, perfect memory I do not have, and that sometimes shows. However, I still retain the benefit of the research for my MTh, and for my PhD(Biblical Studies); the former on the Love Command in Johannine Literature, and the latter on the First Easter and the circumstances around it.
        Well that gives away the basis for my thinking. Now – without anger but with love – to the comments on my comments:
        I do not like the analogy of the swords – that may imply that we are in a fight of sorts – I believe that we are discussing a subject from two sides of a fence. A fence which need not be there. I have mentioned the difference between the genders and often stopped short at describing the physical parts since they are obvious enough and have been described in various manners ad nauseam. I still believe that a female is much better at multi-skilled tasks than a male, who is not so good at being disturbed during a task requiring concentration.
        You write “Each church decides how far they are going to let women go.” Are you serious? In the Christian religion is it really the people who decide how far they comply with or differ from the Word of God? We are followers of Christ Jesus – the Word of God. In my congregation the women can vote on the budget, in fact we have had female treasurers for many years; currently our acting Chair-Person and our Secretary are females and trusted with their tasks. Does this translate to women NOT being equal before God? I think NOT.
        As heirs to the promise women and men are equal before God, (Galatians 3:29 – 4:11). However this does NOT negate other writings in the NT of which I have made mention before.
        You ask “what difference does it make that no women were apostles?” My Lord quite clearly indicated the answer to this by having not only all male Apostles, having all male disciples sent our two by two, but having HIS chosen instrument Paul (Acts 9:15) write the Apostolic instructions on who could be a Bishop or a Deacon, they were to be a husband of one wife! How can a female Pastor be a “husband of one wife”?
        As a Lutheran I am somewhat [or may be more] aware that Dr. Martin Luther of blessed memory set out to eradicate the evil that was practiced in the Western Christian Church at his time. He was not perfect, neither am I.
        The Gospel was given to “people” not just to women – “What? Did the Word of God come out from you?” (1 Cor. 15:36) Or to women first, the disciples who walked with my Lord saw all that He did and taught. John, the Evangelist, was also present at the Crucifixion and took my Lord’s mother as his mother. Yes, indeed the women at the tomb were the first to find out that my Lord had risen as predicted. But is the skill to complete burial procedures a qualification for anything else? How many women were named in the locked room after the Crucifixion?
        On Gender differences St. Paul in his writings is rather specific about that – 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy 2 & 3.
        Shirley I thank you for allowing me to write this to you.

        Barney

        Kristen, If you understood the Doctrine of the world wide Lutheran Church, its basic doctrine, you would not have used the word “hubris”. As Christian we use the 1900+ year old texts as our life manual and guide. 15 years of virtual full time study have allowed me some insight in the Word of God, truly compared with the teaching of my denomination. I am not a POPE or suitable to be one, I am a serious bible student who has by Thesis and Dissertation reached a level where my emanations are based on training and experience. Being a mere human being I cannot get it all as clear as the Apostles did through God’s guidance. I am not – as you write – “the all knowing”, that title “Omniscient” belongs to God only – but I am a bible student of many years standing, with examinations and tests to prove same.
        BTW I did not know that YOU could make someone a POPE!
        Barney
        Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

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      • Yes, Barney, I knew that you are Lutheran. I also know that in my country, some Lutherans ordain women as pastors. So you and I have the same situation in our root denomination. Some Baptists allow women to be pastors, but the one I am of – the Southern Baptist Convention – does not.
        1. Men and women equal in society but not in church. Jesus used secular situations in all his parables. So why would you separate men and women into secular and spiritual? “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7). Why do you think a woman is to leave her equality outside the church door when she walks over the church threshold? A man doesn’t.
        2. Without anger, but with love. I had a pastor once who started many sentences with “You know I love you, but.” I think, Barney, that you would have righteous anger if it were you who is constantly being told that as a female, you have an incomplete relationship with God.
        3. As heirs to the promise, men and women are equal before God. Well, you know that that just doesn’t make a bit of sense. Exactly where do you separate the equality? And how can you be equal heirs if one of you has responsibility over the other, and if one has to submit to the other?
        4. The men were with Jesus every step of the way so they knew everything the women did. If you will notice, men had to be convinced over and over. Peter even denied knowing Jesus. They were huddled somewhere that Easter morning when the women went to the tomb. One account even has Peter and John running to the tomb and, not seeing Jesus, left. You seem to think that this is not significant, because women were often the ones who saw to the burials.
        5. How many women were named in the locked room after the Crucification? Better ask how many women were at the tomb when He revealed himself! Or perhaps ask how many women were in the room when the sound of a rushing wind appeared to all, and the Holy Spirit came down and filled the men and the women.

        Barney, I am not a Bible scholar. I am a Christian, saved by grace, by the same Lord who saved your soul. Jesus called out the Bible scholars and the teachers of the law in Matthew 23 and told them that they had overlooked the most important thing in their love of the letter of the law. They had overlooked people. Jesus came to remedy that, but many have again chosen the law over people.

        Lawyers look to precedents. Jesus gave all you Bible scholars and lovers of the law, plenty of precedence regarding women. If as you said, the disciples knew everything before he told the women, the fact that Jesus told the women specifically and it is recorded specifically in the Word, that makes it extremely important. It sets precedent.

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  5. Kristen says:

    BTW, I’ve finally started my own blog.

    http://www.krwordgazer.blogspot.com/

    I will have posts on the equality issue soon.

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    • Wonderful! Let us know and I will add it to my blogroll. You have a wonderful voice, and we need your voice.

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      • Kristen says:

        Barney, I have a few questions based on what you wrote above.

        1. I assume you have some sort of sense of humor. Did you understand that my statement about you being made pope was a joke?

        2. If you do understand that, then how is it that you do not understand that it is possible that your 15 years of serious bible study, and the male-centric, female-restrictive doctrines of your denomination (yes, Martin Luther was the one who said, “If a woman dies in childbirth, what of it? That’s what women are for”) may JUST POSSIBLY actually be long-standing error based on bias, and baked into your denomination’s doctrines till they are inextricable?

        3. Do you understand that other people who have reached the opposite conclusion to yours, are sometimes longer-term scholars with just as many (or more) letters behind their names than you have?

        4. How, then, can you say unequivocably that you “are on the side of the Word of God”– and thus that anyone who disagrees with you is not? For that IS what it means to say, “I am on the side of the Word of God” in a conversation such as this one. Do you believe it’s possible for human beings to err? Do you believe it might be possible for your own denomination to err?

        I can show you passages (at least two) where Jesus makes statements that would absolutely have been understood by His original audience to be claiming that some of His disciples were indeed female. As for why the 12 were male, the answer is clear if you look at it without the male-centric glasses on. A woman’s testimony was not believed in that culture. That’s why when the women came and said, “He is risen!” the 12 refused to believe them. But the women were proved right– and Jesus deliberately chose to appear to the women first, to teach the 12 that His family was to be different from the world, because the very first thing His apostles had to do, was learn to accept the testimony of women!

        And that’s only the tip of the iceburg. I’ve done a little studying myself, and I believe that female-restrictionism is in direct contradiction to the nature of the New Creation that Jesus came to bring, where we “no longer view anyone according to the flesh.” 2 Cor 5:16-17. Time to move into the New Creation and stop holding women in the Old.

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  6. Marg says:

    Barney and Co, You stated that:
    “If I could be persuaded – by Scripture – that women can speak during Divine Service, I’ll listen. However, how many of the Apostles were female? How many of the 70 (72) were named females? If Jesus had meant for females to have a leading sacerdotal role would not the Blessed Virgin be the first Pope, and Mary Magdalene an Archbishop? And finally to whom was the Great Commission addressed?”

    Several of the concepts in this statement are not found in Scripture. I’ll address a few.

    (1) The early church meetings had little in common with what some church’s today term “Divine Service” – a term not found in Scripture. Women did speak in early church meetings. They prayed aloud, they prophesied, and some were leaders.
    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/new-testament-women-church-leaders/

    (2) How many of the 70 (72) were named males?

    (3) No follower of Jesus has a greater “sacerdotal” function than any other believer. “Sacerdotal” is another term not found in the New Testament. Nor are the terms “pope” or “archbishop”. These priestly and hierarchical leadership concepts are based on church traditions and not on New Testament teaching. You might be interested in the last few paragraphs of this article:
    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/old-testament-priests-new-testament-ministers/

    (4) The 11 Apostles were all male, and the Great Commission was addressed primarily to these 11. However the 11 Apostles were not the only people who spoke, taught, prophesied or exercised leadership in the early church.

    You begin this statement by saying, “If I could be persuaded by Scripture. . . “; however I suggest that you are not looking to the New Testament Scripture to see how the 1st century churches really functioned.

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    • Barney & Co says:

      Well Marg, let us take your comments point by point as you have so conveniently provided.
      1. “The early church meetings had little in common with what some church’s [sic] term ‘Divine Service’ – a term not found in Scripture. Women did speak in early meetings.”
      1.a.i. A very good point, by raising it you made me think of St. Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians Chapter 14 verses 33-37. It was because of disorderly conduct in the [early] church that St. Paul wrote these Apostolic Instructions.
      1.a.ii. The term “Divine Service” is used in Lutheran churches to denote that God serves HIS people during worship, with HIS Word and with my Lord’s body and blood during Holy Communion. Some Bible versions [NIV 1984, NRSV, NLT, and other ‘modern versions’] mis-translate Acts 3:21 in that Christ Jesus is confined to heaven; lit. “must ‘remain’ in heaven”; whilst a more correct translation of the Greek [dexasthai – to receive] should read; “must be ‘received’ in heaven”, or alternatively “must be ‘welcomed’ in heaven”. If one can accept that Christ Jesus is NOT under house-arrest in heaven then one can accept that Christ Jesus can – and does – come down to us during Holy Communion and give His people His body and His blood. Compare the doctrine of the “Real Presence”.

      2. Re the 70 (72)
      2.a. No response from you.

      3. “No follower of Jesus has a greater ‘sacerdotal’ function that any other believer”.
      3.a. How about the difference in authority and function between “The Twelve”, the Bishops and the Deacons? Do you really think that the appointments in Acts 6:1-6 were appointments of equality; if so, why then 7 men?

      4. “The 11 Apostles were all male, and the Great Commission was addressed primarily to these 11”.
      4.a. Maybe I should have emphasised the word ‘primarily’, this may have slipped your notice; I agree that the ’11’ were not the only people who spoke, taught and prophesied; and I agree that at the time of the Great Commission there were only 11 Apostles; Judas’ replacement, (Matthias, Acts 1:12-20) came later, then we had the 12 (males).

      You end with “… you are not looking to the New Testament Scripture to see how the 1st century churches really functioned.” I addressed this in my answer to your point 1.

      Barney

      Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

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  7. Marg says:

    Barney,
    (1) I agree that Jesus meets with us when two or more believers meet together in his name. This may happen anywhere at any time, and not just through the sacraments. However I cannot see that knowing that Jesus is truly with us when we meet adds anything to the debate about women in ministry. Are you implying that only men can bring about the presence of Jesus?

    Paul did address unruly behaviour by both men and women in his first letter to the Corinthians. However, he did not have a problem with women praying and prophesying in a “respectable” manner. [Please do not “sic” behaviour. This is how we spell it in Australia.]

    (2) I did respond to the 70 (72) question. You asked how many females where named, and I responded by asking how many males were named. The answer in both cases is zero.

    (3) and (4) I do believe that the Twelve are in a special case. Jesus needed at least 10 adult male disciples to be recognised as a Rabbi. [No “sic” please.] Some suggest that Jesus chose the twelve men before the New Covenant and redemption had been enacted because women were, as yet, were not freed from the consequences of the curse. (I don’t agree with this thought, as men were also still under the consequences of the curse.)

    I believe that it takes a move of the Holy Spirit to break down social barriers and bigotry, and the Holy Spirit had yet to poured out on believers, so, for the sake of societal conventions, Jesus chose twelve men. Other people suggest that Jesus chose twelve men as a way of symbolically comparing the New Covenant with the Old Testament patriarchs.

    While Jesus specifically chose twelve men to be his disciples – one who turned out to be a traitor, it should be noted that Jesus never stated that women could not be church leaders. Moreover, Jesus welcomed the company and ministry of women. And he taught and instructed both men and women.

    Different people have different functions in the church body, some as leader and teachers. I’m not sure why you bring in the 7 men in Acts 6. Even though they were all godly men, their ministry can hardly be labelled as “priestly” or “sacerdotal”. They simply helped to distribute funds (not food) so that the Hellenistic widows, and other believers, wouldn’t miss out, and so that the Apostles could devote themselves to the ministries of the word and prayer, etc.

    Perhaps we have a different idea of equality. Equality is where any Christian with the right gifting and calling and character can serve in a particular function and is not barred simply because of their gender, race or socio-economic status. I have no doubt that the 7 men chosen to distribute funds were the right people for the job at that time.

    We also know that numerous men and women, other than the Apostles, were very effective in spreading the gospel. Ironically, when the Christians were persecuted after the stoning of Stephen, the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem, and it was the other Christians that went and preached the word and spread the gospel in Judea and Samaria.

    “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting [Stephen] to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” Acts 8:1-4
    [Paul was an egalitarian even then.]

    I don’t think you did mention how New Testament Churches functioned except to say that Jesus real presence is present when believers perform certain rites. I believe that Jesus real presence is present simply because his followers are meeting in his name. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20.

    You did not mention when (days and times) the church met, where they met, the different sorts of gatherings they had, how large the average church was, and what Christian men and women did during church meetings and outside of church meetings. As I said in my previous comment: The early church meetings had little in common with what some churches’ term “Divine Service”. In fact the early church meetings bear almost no resemblance to most modern church meetings that have become sedate, staid or solemn occasions with numerous rules and rites that exclude women. Women participated freely in the early church, some even as leaders, and Paul loved them and valued them.

    Barney, I’m wondering what you hoping to achieve by arguing that women cannot be church leaders?

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  8. Barney & Co says:

    “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting [Stephen] to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” Acts 8:1-4
    [Paul was an egalitarian even then].
    This was before St. Paul saw the Light – literally!!!

    I am still not convinced that women should be ordained into the Ministry of the Word and the Sacraments.

    Barney

    Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

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    • So Paul was egalitarian and then he saw the light and became restrictive against women? How could that be? Jesus allowed women equality, and you think that after Paul saw Jesus, he got some kind of message from Jesus to restrict women? How silly is that! I know you are joking, you have to be!

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    • Kristen says:

      Question: Why would Paul have been dragging off men and women? Would it not be because he saw both as a threat? If the women were sitting silently and the men were running everything, wouldn’t Paul have left the women alone?

      It was after Paul “saw the light” that he commended Phoebe to the church at Rome, called her a minister and benefactor, and asked the church to give her whatever help she asked for. Romans 16:1ff.

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  9. Marg says:

    Barney, my comment in square brackets was supposed to be a joke. I was thinking of pointing out that it was a joke but I decided against it because I thought it was obvious.

    My point in posting that scripture was to show that it wasn’t the Apostles who were preaching the word in Acts 8:4, it was the other Christians.

    You wrote: “I am still not convinced that women should be ordained into the Ministry of the Word and the Sacraments.”

    My question: Why would God (supposedly) allow men and not women to do these things?

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    • Barney & Co says:

      During the persecution by the Jews, the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem and many of the followers of The Way were scattered. After that Acts 8:4-6, 12 describes:
      “4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6 and the people with one accord gave heed unto the things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.”
      Does this not indicate that the “ministry?” of the’ Woman at the Well’ was not effective. It also indicates that it was a male, an appointed Deacon, who preached to the Samarians and baptised many.

      Barney

      Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

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      • Oh, Barney, you stepped into it this time! Don’t you know that no male preacher gets all the people all the time. Would you say that they are not effective? Did this poor woman at the well have to have 100% town conversion before you give her credit for any? Male preachers can’t measure up to that standard.

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      • Barney & Co says:

        Re: “Male preachers can’t measure up to that standard.” Good point, but can female preachers?
        The point I made was that the Word still had to be preached to Samaria and believing people still had to be baptised. Some might not like it that a male – a deacon – was sent to do that.

        Barney

        Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

        Like

      • Who cares who was sent to do it? That is the message we are trying to get across to you. It makes no difference whether it is a man or a woman’s voice that a person hears about salvation. You seem to think that it does. We don’t.

        Like

      • Estelle says:

        Please do not denigrate the woman at the well. The witness of the woman at the well was so powerful that when Philip arrived a few years after Jesus’ encounter with her, he found a place where EVERYBODY was eager to hear what he had to say about the Messiah; Luke describes them as being ‘with one accord.’
        Paul wrote about harvesting where others had sown; this seems to me to be one such example.
        Remember, too, that the woman had met Jesus long before the events of Passion Week, the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. One cannot expect her to pass on what had not yet been given.

        Like

    • Barney & Co says:

      Marg, your question: “Why would God allow men and not women to do these things?”
      My questions; (i) “Why would God make male and female different? (ii) “Why would God give females a smaller liver?” (iii) “Why would God give females greater compassion for their children?” (iv) “Why would God through His Word give the Selection Criteria for Holy Office?” 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.?”

      Barney

      Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

      Like

    • Barney & Co says:

      Marg, your question: “Why would God allow men and not women to do these things?”
      I cannot answer for God! A mere male cannot do that.

      My questions; (i) “Why would God make male and female different? (ii) “Why would God give females a smaller liver?” (iii) “Why would God give females greater compassion for their children?” (iv) “Why would God through His Word give the Selection Criteria for Holy Office?” 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.?”

      Can a female answer that?

      Barney

      Like

      • Kristen says:

        Sure! God made the female different so that she could carry and nurse children. No one is disputing biological differences! No, I don’t think God gave all females greater compassion for their children than all males. There is probably a biological tendency related to the different hormones, but no absolute boxes into which to shove individual human beings.

        No, 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 do not give the “selection criteria for Holy Office.” They do give guidelines for what Paul wanted his deputites Timothy and Titus to do in certain individual churches. “Husband of one wife” does not mean “must be male.” The Greek is gender-inclusive and means “faithful spouse to one person.” There is good historical evidence that this is the way the phrase was understood by the original audience. We can tell it’s not gender-inclusive because Paul also says a “diakonos” is to be “husband of one wife,” and “diakonos” is that little word you were just insisting could mean any church servant from a gardener to an organist to the one who cleans the toilets. Since Phoebe is certainly called a “diakonos,” then either “husband of one wife” is gender-inclusive, or Phoebe was a man. That’s plain logic.

        Like

      • Barney, let me give you a biology lesson, and answers to your questions that have no importance whatsoever in things of the Spirit. God made men and women different because that means that one gender cannot reproduce by itself. It takes two providing their DNA and egg and sperm, thereby giving both males and females a part in reproduction. God gave a women a smaller liver because he gave women smaller feet. Women have more compassion for their children because they bore them in their bodies. Your next one is a trick question. Answer: God did not give selection criteria based on gender. Man does that. By the way, why can’t you answer for God? Isn’t that one of males’ perks?

        Like

  10. Anne says:

    I can’t stand it when people give more importance to minor verses than to the character of God – and then claim that those verses speak for Him. God is perfect in fairness and perfect in love. How can restricting women be His will when it contradicts with Himself?

    Like

    • Michelle says:

      It’s frustrating but I think I’m just coming to understand–as with any other situations, one can get so engrossed in details that they miss the larger points. “Can’t see the forest for the trees” is one way I think that’s expressed. I know someone to whom (it seems) the most important aspect of…whatever…is whichever verses s/he’s been pouring over recently.

      Like

  11. Marg says:

    Philip is never called a deacon (diakonos) in the Scriptures. He is called an evangelist. Tradition gives him the title “deacon” not the Scriptures. Phoebe on the other hand is called a deacon (diakonos) in the Scriptures.
    _______________________________________

    Some info on “diakonos”:

    The word deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos. Diakonos literally means a servant. In the New Testament, service and ministry are completely synonymous, so diakonos is variously translated minister or servant, and only occasionally as “deacon”.

    In modern church usage, the word deacon often refers to stewards of the material and more practical concerns of church life. In New Testament vernacular however, ministers/deacons (diakonoi) were men and women with the highest spiritual integrity and ability, and they functioned as ministers of the Gospel. In 1 Timothy 4:6, Paul tells Timothy that he will be a good minister (diakonos) of Jesus Christ if he points out truth and good teaching to the brothers and sisters.

    Whenever the Apostle Paul used the term diakonos he used it in reference to a minister of the Gospel, not to a steward. Paul referred to several New Testament people, including himself, as diakonoi (ministers): Paul (Rom 15:25; 1 Cor 3:5; Eph 3:7; Col 1:23, etc), Epaphras (Col 1:7), Tychicus (Eph 6:21-22; Col 4:7-9), Phoebe (Rom 16:1-2), Apollos (1 Cor 3:5) and even Jesus Christ (Mk 10:42-45; Rom 15:8). In Romans, Paul also used the word in reference to goverment ministers.

    _________________________________________

    Barney: You sign off with “Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas” – “Where the Word of Christ is, there is Truth”. Yet almost all your arguments are based on traditions and not on scriptures, and certainly not on the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not use words that could be translated as sacraments, ordained, archbishops, etc. I hope that you might see beyond man-made traditions and see what Jesus and Paul taught, equality and freedom for all people.

    Like

  12. Barney & Co says:

    Phoebe was a servant of the church, but so is the gardener and the cleaner.

    You are right to say that Philip was not called a Deacon in the Holy Scriptures, he was appointed to serve at tables. Why were 7 men [andros] chosen to wait at tables? Were there no others who were full of the Spirit, and wisdom? May be male bias again?

    You wrote; “Jesus did not use words that could be translated as sacraments.” I disagree, maybe not the very literal words; however, Jesus instituted the Holy Communion, c.f. Matthew 26:26-28, Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. Many Christians believe that Holy Communion is a Sacrament. Not as a tradition but as the very words of One who cannot lie; “I am the Truth … ” John 14:6 Here you find the very words of Christ Jesus and consequently Truth.

    I hope that you might see that the supporters of female pastors etc are the very ones who are inserting a new tradition into the Christian Church, contrary to Apostolic Instructions which I have mentioned before. The Gnostics had female priests and they were anathemised by the Church.

    Barney

    Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

    Like

    • Barney, we need some new traditions in the church. After all, what is a tradition? Just a time honored way of doing things. The early church did not have everything right as we know when we read the Gospels. Look at Acts 15:28-29: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requiresments: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” Notice that? He was holding these new Gentile Christians to the law of Moses with the avoidance of strangled animals and blood. We know that is wrong today. We are not held to that law, but as they worked out what it meant to be a Christian, they got some things wrong.

      Like

      • Barney & Co says:

        A very good choice of text: Look at Acts 15:28-29: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requiresments: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. However, why only mention blood and meat of strangled animals? Today we are more worried about sexual immorality of which we are warned.

        Like

      • Kristen says:

        I don’t think they got it wrong, actually. In those days animals were strangled and the blood was drunk, as part of pagan worship ceremonies. To the people in those days, these requirements would have been understood as, “Don’t participate in the worship of idols.”

        However, what you said is still true. When the reason for a church practice changes, so should the practice itself. Following Jesus has never been about slavish adherence to the letter at the expense of the Spirit. That’s what the Pharisees were rebuked for.

        Like

    • Kristen says:

      “Phoebe was a servant of the church, but so is the gardener and the cleaner.”

      I find it utterly outrageous that you would so disrespect a woman whom Paul specifically commanded the church at Rome to “receive in a manner worthy of the saints, and give her any help she may need.” Rom 16:1. I’m not saying that gardening and cleaning are unworthy things to do, but this is not how Paul described Phoebe. He called her a “prostasis” (the word is a form of the verb “proestimi,” to lead, which Paul uses several times in his letters in the sense of church leaders leading). Notice that Paul didn’t tell the church that Phoebe was there to help them. He told the church to help her. She was the one who was going to tell them what she needed, and they were the ones who were going to see that what she wanted got done!

      Paul commanded the Roman church to receive the minister Phoebe in a manner worthy of the saints. Your way of receiving her, Barney, is in a manner unworthy of the saints. You should examine yourself and your attitudes towards women, and let the Holy Spirit show you your disrespect so that you may repent.

      Like

      • Barney & Co says:

        The text reads “I recommend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is in Cenchrea.” KJV. Servant – diakonon; our organist is a servant also, but then again you might say that there were no organists in NT times. However, there were gardeners and other household servants in the households of well endowed Christian females who were involved in “house Churches”, I doubt if they did all the work themselves.

        Like

  13. Marg says:

    Barney,

    Did you expect me to answer your questions? I was hoping that you would answer mine, instead of deflecting.

    Some comments:
    The church did not have cleaners and gardeners in New Testament times. Outside of Jerusalem, churches were simple communities that met in homes. By your comments, it seems to me that you have a faulty understanding of how the New Testament church functioned. Women were ministers in the New Testament church – several are mentioned by name in the NT; but you have minimsed and dismissed a perfectly good example of one such woman minister.

    Your estimation of Phoebe’s ministry is outrageously biased.

    Were ANY of the other people that Paul called diakonoi gardeners or cleaners or servants? No!

    Phoebe was a wealthy person. Paul calls her both a diakonos and a prostatis. A prostatis means a leader or benefactor. Phoebe probably had servants, she was not one herself. (The translation of “helper” for prostatis is extremely inadequate and biased.)

    The Bible specifically says that “men” buried Stephen. Does that mean that only men can bury people?

    I completely disagree with your statement that women pastors are against apostolic instructions. Where do any of the apostles say that women can’t be pastors? All the lists of spiritual gifts, including the ministry gifts of Eph 4:12 are gender inclusive in the Greek.

    In the early church, most ministers were men, but there were plenty of women ministers too. Even women slaves. Over the next few hundred years, however, women ministers were gradually legislated against. The “tradition” of women ministers in the early church was lost.

    As an aside: The Bible says that under the New Covenant we no longer need priests.

    I find it strange that you mention that the church anethemised certain people or certain groups. Certainly gnostic beliefs are erroneous and dangerous, but the church’s practise of anethemising people is horrendous!!! Is anthemising people supposd to encourage repentance? (Paul said that people who believe a different gospel are cursed, but he himself did not curse anyone.)

    Barney, Your view of the community of God’s people is very different to mine. There are no priests in my church community. There are very few formulas or rituals. There are no sacraments, but we do celebrate and commemorate the Lord’s Supper (communion) and we baptise new believers. In my community, people minister according to their gifts and abilites, not according to their gender. We do not preach traditions, only Scripture. We point out error, but we most definitely do not anethemise people.

    Like

  14. Mabel says:

    Thank you Marg for speaking out against bigotry masquerading as following the Scripture, and turning our God into a biased and sexist God. Not everybody can explain as well as you can. You are a gifted teacher and a gracious one. We need to stand up to bullying, and thank you for defending women against being put down by no less than people who claim to have the Holy Spirit in them. I don’t think the Holy Spirit would look upon sexism kindly.

    Like

  15. Kristen says:

    Barney said:

    The text reads “I recommend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is in Cenchrea.” KJV. Servant – diakonon; our organist is a servant also, but then again you might say that there were no organists in NT times. However, there were gardeners and other household servants in the households of well endowed Christian females who were involved in “house Churches”, I doubt if they did all the work themselves.

    Do you really think it’s a sound argument to reply to my points by merely repeating your own in other words? You have not addressed the term “prostatis” used in conjunction with “diakonos” to refer to Phoebe. You merely continue to insist that because Phoebe was a woman, Paul couldn’t have meant “diakonos” to mean “minister” about her, as he used it of himelf and other male church leaders. If Phoebe were a man, you would easily grant that “diakonos” means “minister/church leader” here, because the context supports it.

    This is plain, simple misogyny.

    Like

    • Barney & Co says:

      Kristen, please give me the reference to ‘prostatis’ from where ever you got it from, and I may address that point also.

      I have used Nestle’s Greek NT, but did not find it therein.

      Barney

      Like

      • Kristen says:

        Barney, please look at this scholarly essay on the words used to describe Phoebe in Romans 16:
        http://www.pbpayne.com/?p=501

        Dr. Payne uses the Greek letters for the words, but note how he shows that a form of the word often translated “benefactor” or “helper” is used to designate leadership in Romans 12:8, 1 Thess. 5:12, 1 Tim. 5:17 and 1 Tim. 3:4, 5 and 12. In fact, the passage you have cited in 1 Tim 3 about overseers and their leadership qualifications uses a form of this word not less than three times!

        Like

    • Barney & Co says:

      Kristen, in the Greek-English dictionary of the Greek New Testament 4th edition by Barbara Aland et al, the word “diakoneo” (verb) shows; to serve, wait on, care for, see after, provide for, serve as a deacon.

      The word; “diakonia” (noun) shows; ministry, service, contribution, help, support, mission, c.f. Romans 12:7.

      The word “diakonos” (noun) m,f, shows; servant, helper, minister, deacon, deaconess. It would be easy to recognise that deaconesses assisted with Holy Baptism to ensure the modesty and dignity of the female baptisants.

      Since there is a difference between ‘deacon’ (m) and ‘deaconess’ (f) one can safely assume that Phoebe – a female – was not a deacon. There does not seem to be a record of Phoebe be ordained by laying on of hands, I took the ‘fail safe’ way out and called her a ‘servant’; as a result of that, she can be seen to belong to the large group of different servants of which I have given some examples before. No doubt, those who serve in their congregation as stewards , as greeters, those who work in the kitchen, those who look after the children and/or clean up after (both genders all), also fall in the group of ‘servants’.

      I regret that you have to call this ‘misogynist’ – (noun) ‘hatred, dislike or mistrust of women’. I think that this is uncalled for and borders on ‘ad-hominem’. As one who has more females than males in his family and in his social circle, and who is subject to reciprocal love from them, I find that tag totally inappropriate.

      Like

      • Kristen says:

        I’d like to also add that saying this:

        “As one who has more females than males in his family and in his social circle, and who is subject to reciprocal love from them, I find that tag totally inappropriate”

        is really not that different from a person who is called on racism saying, “Hey, but I have friends who are black.” It is, in fact, completely beside the point.

        Like

      • Kristen says:

        Look, that sounds harsher than I meant it! But it is true that merely having friends and loved ones who are female, and getting along with them, doesn’t negate the possibility of having attitudes that are discriminatory, dismissive, restrictive, or derogatory about women. I did not say you were a misogynist or that you hated women; I did say that your words are dismissive and derogatory towards women– whether intentional or not. In fact, it’s our unintentional prejudices that we all need to be on the watch for, particularly when religion is commonly used as a justification for them.

        Like

  16. Kristen says:

    Barney, I would like you to please step back from your words and examine them as they might be heard by a woman. You said, in essence, “Phoebe was a servant in the same way a gardener or cleaner is a servant.” You seem unable to picture that a woman could possibly do something other than garden, clean, work in the kitchen, take care of children, etc, in the church. Oh, and they might be greeters or stewards, too.

    Now, I’d like you to substitute another group for women here. Supposing that Phoebe were not a woman, but a black man. Let’s call him Pheb. Supposing someone was telling you Pheb was a “diakonos” of a church, whom Paul had asked the Roman church to help in any way he needed. Supposing you then insisted that because Pheb was black, the word “diakonos” there could not have meant “minister of the gospel,” but had to mean something more along the lines of “gardener” or “janitor.” Now, don’t get me wrong– I’m not saying you’re racist! I’m asking you to apply the same standard to Phoebe as you would apply to Pheb. If you said Pheb could not have been a leader because he was a black man, a black person reading this would not be out of line to say, “Hey, that’s racism!” Right? Would it be ad hominem to identify racism as such, when one saw it?

    Am I then out of line because I say, “Hey, that’s misogyny”? I used the term because usually the word “sexism” means nothing among church people who believe as you do about women. If I’d said, “Hey, that’s sexist!” you might easily have replied, “Oh, you think that’s sexist? You’re obviously just a feminist who doesn’t care about what the Bible says!” So I called it “misogyny.” It’s really the same thing. If the only reason it seems impossible to you that Paul could have been commending Phoebe as a leader to the church in Rome, is because she was a woman, and you think Paul was probably thinking of her as someone who tends the flowerbeds and cleans the toilets, then that attitude is prejudiced against women. Sexist. Misogynist. Calling out sexism is not an ad hominem argument. It’s simply calling out sexism.

    Like

  17. Marg says:

    For Barney’s benefit: “Prostatis” is towards the end of Romans 16:2.

    For my sisters’ benefit: In his first letter to the Corinthians, Clement of Rome used the masculine form of prostatis (prostatēs) in relation to Jesus:

    “This is the way, beloved, in which we found our salvation; even Jesus Christ, the high priest of our oblations, the champion [prostatēs] and defender [boēthos] of our weakness.” Translation by Charles Hoole.

    “This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High priest of our offerings, the Guardian [prostatēs] and Helper [boēthos] of our weakness.” Translation by J. B. Lightfoot.

    Interestingly the Greek word boēthos, translated as “defender” and “helper” in the examples above, is the same Greek word used for “helper” in Genesis 2:18 and 20 of the Septuagint.

    It is tragic that when applied to women, terms such as prostatis, boēthos, diakonos and apostolos get dumbed down.

    Thankfully Paul did not have a negative bias against women. He entrusted his letter to the Romans in Phoebe’s care. As was the custom in those days, the letter carrier bore the authority of the one who sent him or her. The letter carrier also brought personal greetings and explained parts of the letter if needed. Phoebe was a minister of the church at Cenchreae, she was a benefactor-leader of many people, and she was used as an apostolic envoy by Paul.

    Like

    • Kristen says:

      Thank you, Marg. That’s wonderful.

      Like

    • Barney & Co says:

      Thank you Marg for pointing out the location of ‘prostatis’. I had looked in my interlinear NT but did not see it. Do you think that some translators were in error when they translated ‘prostatis’ as “succourer” (KJV), “helper of many” (NJKV), and “a great help” (NIV 1984)? I have no problem with your statement that Phoebe was a benefactor of many people; being of means, she was in a position not only to have the church in her house but also to help in many other ways. There were several women of means who supported The Way in the early days, including those who walked with my Lord in His earthly days, Lydia, the lady of the purple cloth, and no doubt others. This helping is required of all Christians we are to use our resources as the parables of the ‘talents’ and the ‘minas’ teach us clearly, there is nothing gender specific about that. But this does not mean that we can go against clearly written Apostolic Instructions, e.g. 1 Cor. 14:33ff, 1 Tim. 2:12ff, and 1 Tim 3.

      Barney

      Like

      • Barney, lets get something straight. What you think is clear instructions suits your perceptions and plays into what you want. You totally ignore Jesus and his interaction with women as if it had no meaning whatsoever. You decide to rely upon Pauls’ and others writings and pick out passages that tell women to sit down, shut up and be quiet. And yet you engage with these women in theological discussions. What if they said the very same words standing up behind a pulpit with a huge congregation listening? That is what they are doing.

        I am beginning to think that you are getting some sort of titillation from these discussions. Shirley

        Like

      • Barney, today’s post is dedicated to you. Shirley

        Like

      • Kristen says:

        Barney,
        Please read the link to Dr. Philip Payne’s essay on Phoebe which I linked at your request. You will see that “benefactor” is not actually one of the meanings of “prostatis” used in the Greek Paul wrote in. Nor does it mean “helper.” It means, literally, “one who stands before,” and includes connotations (as Marg pointed out) like “champion” and “guardian.”

        Phoebe was a strong, heroic leader in the early church. Paul trusted her to transmit and explain his letter to the church at Rome.

        Like

  18. Mara says:

    Phoebe was a strong and heroic leader in the early church.
    God raised Deborah up to be a strong and heroic leader/Judge in the Old Testament.
    I pray that God would call men to repentence and healing for opposing His work in His warrior women. I pray that He would expose the wounded and insecure places in these men that make them blind to the work of God in women and convict them of trying to stand in the way of the move of God in his women. It gets so old, men using the tired old arguments based on tradition and fear. God, deliver them from that spirit of fear of strong women, please.

    Sorry for my rant. I must be getting tired of all the oppression and persecution of God’s women done in His name.
    I think I’ll go take a long, weekend rest from it all and maybe I’ll feel better on Monday.

    Like

  19. Barney & Co says:

    Shirley,
    Thank you for dedicating a whole post to me.
    It may be very difficult for the two of us to come to or to be of one mind, but I still wish and pray that we can at least agree to disagree where no other way out can be found.
    1. On Apostolic instructions, particularly 1 Cor. 14:33ff; “as in All the churches of the saints … What? Did the Word of God come out of you. … if anyone thinks (s)he is a prophet or spiritual, let them acknowledge that the things I write to you ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD.” It matters NOT what I think is a clear instruction; what matters is that this IS an Apostolic Instruction binding on all Christendom, as are the others I mentioned in a previous comment. Compare also Matthew 7:21-22, and John 14:21-23.
    2. “What goes on now is that we dismiss clear statements in the NT against women’s ordination as simply the baggage of a patriarchal culture that we no longer have to listen to. Then, when issues such as homosexual ordination or the blessing of same sex unions come up, the precedent has been set, and the NT statements prohibiting homosexuality can also be dismissed as baggage from the culture of the past.” This statement was supplied by a Pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia.
    3. I did not focus on Jesus’ interaction with women, nor did I focus on my Lord’s interaction with males. It may not be perceived as such, but I try to be as unbiased and middle of the road in this blog as is possible against the feminine bias of the blog. Perhaps I should focus – gender evenly – on Jesus’ interaction with people as well as other inspired parts of His Word; but, then again, what is written about Him is written by males, which not all people can accept!
    4. Yes, I do have theological discussions with females, and I see nothing against that when compared with a stance as neutral as is possible under the circumstances, nor do I see a problem here when women ask for my opinion. There is nothing wrong with both genders knowing the Word of God, indeed it I believe that it is essential. How can women teach [women and children] if they do not know the Word of God? I, for one, do not think that their studies are wasted. However, why should anyone teach and/or preach when they do not accept the truth of Jesus’ words?
    5. I get no ‘fun’ out of commenting in this blog, it is very time consuming; even though I am retired from paid work, I still have other commitments. However, as a benefit from this blog, I have learned a great deal of how those focussed on Women’s Ordination (WO) phrase their case. I hope and pray that even from a moderate stance I have provided some balance in the conversation. It is never beneficial for the proponents of a case to concentrate on their side only. I have tried to balance the points made by the proponents of WO by some points which I think the WO side overlooks.
    6. I regret that due to the characteristics of the English language [Aus, UK or US versions incl.] one sometimes misreads the word ‘man’ to mean exclusively ‘male’, this is not necessarily so in many cases the word ‘man’ is translated from “anthropos” i.e. mankind. Careful reading often overcomes this misunderstanding.
    Barney
    Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

    Like

    • Kristen says:

      Barney said,
      “On Apostolic instructions, particularly 1 Cor. 14:33ff; “as in All the churches of the saints … What? Did the Word of God come out of you. … if anyone thinks (s)he is a prophet or spiritual, let them acknowledge that the things I write to you ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD.” It matters NOT what I think is a clear instruction; what matters is that this IS an Apostolic Instruction binding on all Christendom, as are the others I mentioned in a previous comment.”

      The problem is that reading it this way contradicts nearly everything else Paul ever said about the nature of the kingdom of God, the women who worked with him, the gifts of the Spirit, etc., etc. — with perhaps 1 Tim 2:15 being the sole exception. I mean, look at 1 Cor 14:26, just a few verses above the one in question. Paul says that when the church comes together, each one (gender inclusive there) has something to share verbally! How can he then turn around a few sentences later and say the women are to be silent? Paul was a learned man. Do you think he really didn’t know how to write without contradicting himself?

      So rather than basing your entire doctrine about women on two or three verses, and then explaining away the huge body of other texts that contradict them — how about if you open yourself to other scholarly readings of those verses, which don’t contradict everything else Paul says? For instance, it’s part of general scholarly consensus nowadays that a number of things Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians were quotations of things the Corinthians had said to him, which he then responds to. (They didn’t have quotation marks in those days. The original readers would have known what Paul was quoting.) But if you allow that it might be a quote, then Paul’s “What?” just after “let your women keep silent” would make a lot more sense. What if this was what he was really saying:

      [You wrote to me,] “Let your women keep silent in all the churches.” What? Did the word of God come out from you? . . . The things I write to you [such as, “when you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation. . .” in 14:26 immediately above!] are commandments of the Lord. . .
      (Emphasis added.)

      When we talk about Phoebe, we are talking about only one of dozens and dozens of scriptures that contradict what you believe is an “Apostolic instruction” that women are to be silent in the churches. The scriptures that support your position, on the other hand, are two or three. Maybe it’s time to rethink them.

      Like

      • Kristen says:

        To clarify: Most scholars now think Paul in 1 Cor. was often responding to teachings and sayings that were circulating in the Corinthian church: for example, in Chapter 7: “About the things you wrote to me, ‘it is good for a man not to touch a woman.'” Many later translations add quotes here and at other verses where Paul is addressing sayings and teachings by quoting them and then responding, such as “‘All things are lawful for me’ — but not all things are profitable.”

        “Let your women keep silent” may very well have been just such a teaching that the Corinthians were listening to and mentioned to Paul. To this he replies,in essence, “What? Do you think you have the right to make such restrictions?”

        Like

  20. Marg says:

    Barney,

    Yes, the word, “helper”, etc, is an inadequate translation of prostatis. If anyone can think – from reading the English text – that Phoebe’s ministry was akin to being a gardener or cleaner, then both “servant” and “helper” are not only inadequate, they are misleading.

    It’s a shame that you take 1 Cor 14:34, 1 Tim 2:12 as constituting universal, timeless, apostolic instructions, but ignore the scriptural evidence elsewhere in the New Testament that shows that Paul (and John) valued women who were clearly functioning in church leadership. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 does not exclude women in the Greek. (I must admit that I am intrigued that someone who has done a MTh and a PhD dissertation on Jesus cannot read New Testament Greek.)

    I have addressed each of the three Scriptures you mentioned:
    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/interpretations-applications-1-cor-14_34-35/

    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/1-timothy-212-in-context-1/

    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/pauls-qualifications-for-church-leaders/

    I echo Kristen’s invitation, please read Philip Payne’s article here: http://www.pbpayne.com/?p=501

    [Kristen, I didn’t realise that “benefactor” was not given in the LSJ. Interesting.]

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    • Barney says:

      ” (I must admit that I am intrigued that someone who has done a MTh and a PhD dissertation on Jesus cannot read New Testament Greek.)” There are reasons why I can no longer do things which I could do when I graduated,

      Barney

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  21. Marg says:

    Kristen: Just had another look at Payne’s article. In a footnote he writes: LSJ (1526–27) identifies προστάτις as the feminine form of προστάτης, for which it gives the following meanings: “one who stands before, front-rank man … leader, chief … ruler … chief authors … administrator … president or presiding officer … one who stands before and protects, guardian, champion … patron … [etc.]

    To me a patron or a benefactor are synonymous. (Am I missing something here?)

    Like

    • Kristen says:

      Marg, I quote Payne’s article here:

      “The NRSV “for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well” has the disadvantage that this meaning is not listed by LSJ1 or BAG,2 and that Paul’s companion Luke uses a different word that LSJ, BDAG, and BAG identify as meaning “benefactor,” “those in authority over them are called benefactors [εὐεργέται]” (Luke 22:25). Thus, the lexical evidence and the context of Phoebe’s standing in the church strongly favor the normal meaning of the term, προστάτις, namely, “leader.” Since her leadership was in the church it would entail spiritual oversight.”

      It appears that Payne makes a distinction between “patron” and “benefactor.” I myself think “patron” conveys a stronger meaning of oversight than “benefactor” does. A “patron” is someone who protects, supports, and mentors a protegee. A “benefactor” can mean simply someone who supplies financially.

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      • Marg says:

        ‘A “patron” is someone who protects, supports, and mentors a protegee. A “benefactor” can mean simply someone who supplies financially.’

        I get what you are saying. Thanks for this. It’s always good to be as clear as possible. 🙂

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