Sunday, December 9, 2007

Women Pastors?

I am posting some dialogue from a Pastor and myself. How did we meet? I have never met this gentleman. I put a lot of funny pictures up on my site and I get them from various places. Sometimes google, yahoo, and many others. Long story short I somehow got a picture of his that was copy written by his church and he asked me to take it down. I complied, but I also checked out his site and he had some views that contradicted scripture and if you all know me, you know I had to let him know about his error in a loving but stern way. Here are the questions I asked him and also here is his response. Please leave comments and let me know what you think about his answers. The questions I asked him are the same one's Pastor Saiko Woods asked IV Hilliard but unlike Hilliard this gentleman answered. I got his permission to post his answers-God Bless.

Q. What reliable source(s) (i.e. books, commentaries, etc.) do you have that support the biblical view you have cited regarding 1 Tim. 3:1-7? Does the passage in the original language support such a view?

A. William D. Mounce, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary : Pastoral Epistles . (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 153ff.

Q. What was the historical setting in Gal. 3:28 that prompted Paul to make such a statement? Is he discussing salvation by faith w/o distinction? Or is he discussing the acceptance & approval of women to minister as Pastors?

A. No, Paul is not so much discussing salvation by faith without distinction, as he is discussing that we are all on a level playing field before grace, faith, and in standing before God. He is indeed not discussing specific functions or roles of the body, but he definitely places all the body on the same basis of equality.

Q. If gender is not an issue of concern with God, why would He distinguish the roles of men & women in the home, church, society, etc. (Gen. 1:27; 1 Cor. 11:3)?

A. I did not intend that gender is of complete unimportance. We are not created complete until we are both male and female. Genesis 1:27 says nothing about God creating them for different roles. Mankind is only complete as male AND female. If you pay attention to the Hebrew nuances of the terms for male and female in Gen 2-4, the same applies. Certainly there are different functions in sexual reproduction, yet it is the question of wholeness that applies rather than positioning one over the other. The question of male dominance in chap 3 can be read in terms of “male domination of women is a byproduct of sin.”
As to 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, Paul seems to deal mainly with issues of cultural interpretation and perception. If a culture does not associate head coverings with issues of modesty and propriety, this text will not apply directly to that culture. It will apply in terms of how our actions communicate in the culture within which we live. Paul says we need to respect how the larger society interprets our actions, norms, and manner of dress. Note that Paul refers to women prophesying in this passage. That is essentially the task of preaching—professing God’s word.

Q. If gender is not an issue of concern with God, why does Paul in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 in the original Greek language use the noun for “man or he” in the masculine form & not the feminine?

A. Masculine pronouns can refer to either gender, especially in a sense of a plural reference. John 3:16 also uses a masculine noun for “whoever”. From your question, that would infer that only females will be saved on the basis of trusting God.

Q. What reliable source(s) could you refer that states that 1 Tim. 3:1-7 was a temporary command due to the culture and not a universal command given to all churches for all time as Paul so states under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 3:16)?

A. Thomas C. Oden, First and Second Timothy and Titus (Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching) Louisville: J. Knox Press, 1989). Acts 18 shows that Priscilla taught Scripture alongside if not before her husband. The couple is first introduced as Aquilla and his wife Priscilla. When they go to correct Apollos teaching, however, it is Priscilla with Aquilla in tow. You must reconcile the praxis of the early church along with your interpretation of proof text verses.

Q. If gender is not an issue with God, why should we as Christians discourage the practice homosexuality, lesbianism, & transvestism in society and its consequences? Why not allow them to pursue whatever gender they decide to choose?

A. This question misreads my comments on gender.If gender is not an issue with God, should the wife be allowed to lead the home when there is a husband present? (Please provide scriptural support for your answer)Timothy was raise in faith by his mother and grandmother. There was a father present. What you are asking, however, is a question of culture and tradition. Deborah stood as a judge in her own right. We would assume a husband, but I don’t recall mention of such.Where in Mark’s gospel does it state that Mary preached the gospel to the disciples after Christ’s resurrection? Wouldn’t the writer have made that point clear if that were the case? Why would she have had to preach the gospel to someone who already followed Jesus (Jn. 17:6, 9, 14, 20)?Mark 16:7 they are commissioned to tell the news of the resurrection to the disciples and Peter. They have a specific message of meeting Jesus, yet implicit is the news of the resurrection. This was the first version of the gospel—“The Jesus you crucified is raised from the dead.” The disciples had believed, yet they still had not understood the rest of the story. If they had, they would not have run to the tomb to verify (per other accounts) and still turn away without believing (John 20:4-9).

Q. According to scripture, when does God allow the culture to influence or determine His creative order? (Please provide scriptural support)

A. Irrelevant and not dealt with precisely in these terms. (Slavery is allowed from a standpoint of culture and Scripture. Scripture likewise shows a higher way of living that would rule out slavery and its other forms in economic and oppression. Women in ministry is not so much a cultural issue as it is that society has helped us recognize elements in the gospel that many ignored.)

Q. Where in the Bible does it clearly state that women led churches in the five-fold ministry gifts described in Eph. 4:11? (Please refer to the gender form of each word used in the original language)

A. The gifts in Eph 4:11 are the people who exercise said functions. Acts 18 shows Priscilla in a teaching position, as well as working with Paul in evangelism. Acts 21:9 mentions four prophetesses, the term indicating the professing of God’s truth (what we call preaching). Apostles is not indicated. As to gender, these terms are given in the plural, which makes no specific indication of gender.

Q. Where in the Bible does it state that Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Euodia, Syntyche, & Junia ever had pastoral positions of authority in the early church? (Please see the word for “servant” (diakonos) in the original language)

A. Diakonos is not pastor. Neither is episkopos. Pastor as we use the term did not exist in the early church. 1249. διάκονος diákonos; gen. diakónou, masc., fem. noun. A minister, servant, deacon. The derivation is uncertain. According to some it comes from diakónis, in the dust laboring, or running through dust. Others derive it from diákō, the same as dié̄kō, to hasten, related to dió̄kō, to pursue.Also used in the NT as a technical term side by side with epískopos (1985), bishop or overseer (1 Tim. 3:8, 12; Phil. 1:1). The deacons in this sense were helping or serving the bishops or elders, and this is why they were probably called deacons. They did not, though, possess any ruling authority as did the elders.[1] The only passage in which special officials of the church are mentioned is 1 Tim. 3:8–12. In verse eight it speaks of diakónous which undoubtedly refers to male deacons because the adjectives that are used in the verse such as semnoús (4586), grave, are in the masc. pl. and not in the fem.[1]The only possible reference to a woman as a deacon is Rom. 16:1, 2, although the word diákonon may just as well be translated “servant.” In this regard we must note that the story of the early church significantly begins with the inclusion of women in the apostolic meetings for prayer (Acts 1:14). Their presence and activity are clearly illustrated by the references to Tabitha (Acts 9:36), Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12), Lydia (Acts 16:14), Damaris (Acts 17:34), and Priscilla (Acts 18:2). The story of Sapphira (Acts 5:7f.) implies the comparatively independent membership and responsibility of women within the Christian community. Priscilla illustrates their active evangelism (Acts 18:26). Attention is expressly called to the “multitudes” of women converts added to the church (Acts 5:14). In Phil. 4:2, 3 Euodias and Syntyche (both women) are spoken of as fellow laborers of the Apostle Paul, and in 1 Cor. 1:11 Chloe is mentioned as having reported to Paul the condition of the church at Corinth. In Rom. 16:1–3, 6, 12, 13, 15 we have numerous salutations to women. Nevertheless, aside from the normal and expected involvement of women in a wide range of church activities and auxiliary ministries, they are never found to be holding ordained offices or engaging in the work of those positions.

Pliny the Younger’s letter to Trajan denotes the torturing of two slaves women who were deacons of the church. They are mentioned in relation to some recognized position of leadership. By the way, pastors are not ordained in the New Testament. Only deacons and missionaries are ordained. Our use of pastoral ordination comes from Roman Catholic traditional ordination of priests. This does not have NT roots, so much as roots in issues of ecclesiastical, structural authority. The NT speaks of mission and purpose, rather power, position, and authority. (“If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, you must be the servant of all.”) In Jesus’ words, it is the act of serving as a foot-slave that indicates true greatness, not the recognition of ordination.

This pastor wanted me to give this link if I posted this dialogue. So here they are