Re: Women, etc. (long)

From: Mike Adams (
Date: Tue Dec 05 1995 - 02:11:44 EST

Carl Conrad said: "One may perhaps discriminate on the basis of a
judgment of intelligence or character of suitable gifts to carry out a task,
but one may NOT discriminate on the basis of ethnic status, or on status in
the social hierarchy, or on gender."

I attest that in his case this is not empty rhetoric. Being both female and
"unlettered", I nonetheless post my comments in this forum. Carl (like a few
others here) assesses my work based entirely upon content, accepting or
disputing each point on its own merit. For this I am most grateful.

Personally, I believe that the truth concerning women in ministry lies in
the broad middle ground between Conrad's and McGuire's opposing stances.
The Bible, both O.T. & N.T. is decidedly partriarchical. Jesus, for example,
appointed 12 MEN (and no women) as apostles. But when he further commissioned
the 70, there is no clear indication whether women were numbered among them.
They could well have been. After all, a considerable number of women were
included in his entourage, and in Acts 2, women were among those filled with
the spirit and who the first proclaimed the gospel on the Day of Pentecost.

In John's gospel Mary was openly commended for choosing to sit at Jesus's
feet to receive teaching rather than taking part in the menial tasks that
Martha considered (woman's) duty.

Now, there is a clear order of headship taught in I Cor 11 and Eph 5:
God, Christ, man, woman. Phil 2:6-11 illustrates how this works. Note the word
harpagmon, over which there has been such debate. Does it mean seize or hold
onto? How about both? Christ recognized and accepted the Father's headship
over him. In his life on earth, particularly during his temptation in the
wilderness, he did not attempt to seize authority. Jesus rather yielded all
rights to himself to the Father, therefore the Father commended all authority
in his hand. Furthermore, Christ did not hang onto what was given him. In an
act beyond comprehension he shared that which was placed into his hand to
those willing to submit their lives to his authority. The relationship of
Father and Son serves as model for the relationship of Christ to the church,
and of husband to wife. The scriptural pattern for headship is an all for all

We humans do not always follow this example. Women tend to try to "usurp
authority" over their husbands, therefore the repeated admonitions to submit.
(By the way, what exactly does authentew really mean? My meager resources tell
me diddly about this one.)

And if God has entrusted man with authority over the woman, is it not so they
can guide and equip them as fellow heirs and co-laborers? Men ought display
the same grace as God does toward Christ and Christ toward the church,
expending all for edification,

So what do we make of the passage in I Tim 2? If we take this as command
for total silence, what then is the purpose of the guidelines in I Cor 11
regarding women and public speaking? Moreover, if it's universally taboo for
any woman ever to teach a man, how do we view Priscilla, teacher of Apollos?
And dare we go so far as to say the power of Christ's blood only avails in
the redemption of man, that women have the added onus of bearing children in
order to attain salvation? These verses must be interpreted with utmost care.

May I suggest one more reason that so few women in ministry are mentioned in
scripture. Under proper headship, the ministry of most women would be
"hidden" under their husbands' covering, (just as my postings appear here in
my husband's account)? It's likely, for instance, that Peter's wife and the
other women alluded to in I Cor 9 were actively involved in their husbands'
ministries. Or are we believe these women who braved hardship and death were
traveling merely as tourists?

Most Bible chauvanists may dismiss all of the above examples as well Phoebe,
Junia, Priscilla, the daugthers of Phillip, and the unnamed lady in II John,
but what of Deborah the Judge? In my reckoning just one such example is
sufficient to prove that in the matter of women being given an authorotative
role, God (who in fact may do whatever he pleases) does.

I repeat that the cause of the gospel of Christ must be foremost in our minds.
Jesus begged us to pray that the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers.
May God forgive those, who for pride or misconception, bind the hands of their
co-laborers, or much worse, forbid them to even enter the field.



P.S. (Neat news about Danker!)

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