Source: Intoxicated Delphi Priestesses
This post has been simmering inside for a year, ever since I found out a good portion of denominations and affiliations of Christian movements do not have women pastors. I had made the assumption most were like Free Methodist or Anglican in relation to women in ministry. Oh, and it does not stop there, there are all sorts of limitations on women in varying degrees. Of course if your missionary plane goes down and your missionary husband is dead than you can essentially pastor people in a very dangerous setting, other than that, no go. If that happens it’s not called being a Pastor it’s called being a missionary. You may preach a sermon to enraged murderous people in an other country before you are martyred but not here to relatively safe people in the States. Of course that sermon would be called a proclamation or testimony instead. I understand there is a bit of difference between teaching and testimony but most testimonies contain some teaching, some more than others, and we learn from all testimonies. If you learn you are being taught. The whole terminology thing does not line up. I’ve heard women can preach but not teach. The synonym of preach is teach, go figure. Like I said, all these varying invisible lines of what women can and cannot do.
I believe the Holy Spirit is raising up women who are walking as Jesus walked. Who are not out there on a rampage against the essential teachings of the Church. They in a sense are like Mary because they are a vessel giving birth to Jesus into the lives of others. There are denominations and affiliations that are sound and have the heart of Jesus. Some of them may believe in the gifts of the Spirit, not in a crazy way, not in an exploitative way but in a way that benefits the believer and the whole church. For an example on the exploitative and crazy watch most of whats on TBN. In many churches there are called women. It is in my heart that the leadership in these churches would open up and be willing to fill some available positions with women who are called to pastor. Some have already such as the Anglican and Free Methodist. Free Methodist always has, it was started on freedom and equality for women and African Americans. There is one mediator between God and us and that is Jesus. Jesus is just as much in a woman as in a man. A woman represents Jesus in her words and actions just as much as a man does. The person teaching does not have to be male just because Jesus is male because He is our mediator, not our pastor, not our priest. I have my own research besides common sense on why it is biblical and good for women to be pastors. Some of my historical source is Zodhiates. There is Paul’s attitude in Philippians 4:1-3, it is exemplary where he appeals, urges Euodia and Syntyche, he call’s them his co-workers. In Romans 16 You have Phoebe, Paul gives her a little section there that is beautiful. There is Priscilla and Aquila, her name is first. Certainly the church in their home was being largely or at least equally led by her. A church is a mixed group nothing else makes sense for that. I love the way scripture says their home, but the church, the church is Christ’s not the leader’s. Plus their home puts Priscilla and Aquila on even footing it’s not his home but their home. The N. T. Wright video below gets into Romans sixteen more. In the gospels Jesus did not want us lording it over one another so what Paul says in 1st Timothy 2:12 is applicable to men who teach also. 1st Timothy 2:11-15 all of those verses were a rebuke to a woman and certain other women who were lording it over. Paul was also correcting Gnosticism at Ephesus. The word to teach in the Greek is to constantly teach in a know it all manner. I think Paul was concerned because when you hear something over and over it sounds like the truth and this particular woman and other particular women were teaching a Gnostic falsehood. Have authority over this Greek word is only used once in the New Testament and means absolute sway over another. This woman was doing what Jesus didn’t want anyone to do even with the truth let alone falsehood. Paul would have said the same thing to a man if that would have been the case. The classic Greek for this have authority over is even more extreme meaning absolute authority to the point of murder. Paul was obviously talking about a certain woman and some other women like her. The women needed exhorted because of a belief that Artimis would help them in childbirth IF they were having children. Some were holding to a Gnostic asceticism. Therefore Paul wanted the women of Ephesus to know that getting married, having sex, having children would not jeopardize their salvation as some ascetics taught. Having children is morally pure Paul wanted them to know that. In today’s Christianity in the States Paul might say having a quiver-full is not necessary for your salvation; to not make a saving idol out of having children. The wording might be a little sloppy Greek to English or it could be because the recipients knew what Paul wanted to say but we don’t not being in their shoes, therefore it seems like Paul is saying women are saved by having children, however one knows this certainly doesn’t line up with the rest of scripture. Paul was speaking against the asceticism of not getting married and having children that women were practicing to obtain salvation. Remember the church was going through thinking circumcision was necessary for salvation, see the book of Galatians. Paul had two types of Gnostics here in Ephesus, one taught licentiousness and the other asceticism, Paul had to deal with both. He wasn’t telling good women not to lead, he was talking to some women who were trying to lead the men and other women into a cult. Paul was not talking about the introverted shy women, who have truth in their hearts, he’d tell them to speak up. He wasn’t talking about the extroverts and everyone in between because, Priscilla obviously. In today’s world at your little church he may be talking about the woman who shows up and shouts out loud “prophecies” and distracts everyone and gets on their nerves. In First Corinthians 14:34 we find the other confusing exhortation, but again it is to certain women in Corinth who were part of a cult in Delphi. The priestesses of this cult became intoxicated off of a drug and would utter incoherent sounds. I think also Paul wanted to clarify there was a difference between the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues and that. No wonder he told them to be quiet. People who do not want women have full ministry opportunity in the Church proof-text with these verses from 1st Timothy and 1st Corinthians, instead of interpreting in the light of all scripture, in the light of the individuals he was writing to, history, backgrounds of the cults and religions of the day.
Note this when watching N. T. Wright below one could say the apostle Junia in Romans sixteen was a man and there would still be biblical support for women as pastors so I never included her in my own research. I understood the biblical basis for woman in ministry before hearing Wright so he just gave affirmation. He has other longer more in depth videos, but this one is short to the point and reasonable.
For those denominations and affiliations who will not support woman pastors being among them, I understand some of the more traditional churches this would be a hard go. I have reason to believe with the Orthodox Church it’s the women’s menstrual period, they derive that from something in the Old Testament that I’m not bothering to look up. But I see Jesus born of Mary all the blood and mess of His birth, it’s holy, all of that is clean. Women should be able to be everything in a more complementarian or traditional church except for Pastors or Priests, free them up as much as your tradition allows. If they also can not be elders, they should be deaconesses. They should be visibly proclaiming, teaching, preaching in mixed groups and filling in. Not all women want to or can do things in the church, but all woman feel honored, understood and heard if there is visible representation. We should not have to wait for a woman to give her testimony, to hear a woman teach. Sorry, giving a testimony is teaching, that terminology again! For the type of church where women are not pastors or elders, but they are not subordinate, it is complimentarian without subordination. That is not something I agree with but at least it’s a biblical opinion. It is also an opinion of language where the words Pastor and elder is seen as masculine nouns, but surely there are feminine nouns for similar positions. We need leading women to be visible to other women because not all are going to come to woman’s bible studies to connect and hear teaching. If I need to talk to someone I don’t mind going to and talking to anyone regardless of whether they are a man or woman, we are all people. Yet not every woman feels this way. It’s essential other women can connect by seeing and hearing women preach, lead worship or whatever. We should not have to always go to “a women only thing” to see that. I believe it builds respect and honour in the men towards women also. Good woman are not taking authority over men, I covered that in the second paragraph. If we used those verses in 1st Timothy 2 and 1st Corinthians 14 to also check men who are false teachers and lording it over, the Church would be healthier. These verses are not about women they are about false teachers who are repetitive with their words to brainwash others. It just happened to be that the ones Paul was speaking to via letters were women and wives. There should also be a respect and honor to cross denominational lines and work with churches who have women pastors. There should not be this invisible line where woman are afraid. I covered that here The Patriarchal does not Allow A Women to be a Berean .
In defense of sanity among denominations that have not gone off the rails women in leadership is a way to multiply disciples. If a perfectly grounded woman with wisdom, experience and calling wants to pastor somewhere or plant a church, encourage her. If you are still not open to women pastors, say “Go over there, that church is open to it”. Acknowledge that a good part, up to half of the church planters and pastors in China are women. It’s already being done by the Holy Spirit there. Go ahead and let the churches who are teaching negativity and strangeness such as that of Mark Driscoll (those verses in 1st Corinthians 14:34 apply to someone like him and his demon trials and odd teaching) Let those churches not have woman do anything in a visible way. Let them be told not to read scripture publicly, let them be told they can’t lead worship, although Mark Driscoll was open to those things and I heard even let women preach, the Calvanista’s in general are not. Mark had other issues you can look up elsewhere. Why should we as Jesus loving churches embrace views that come from (t)heologian Doug Wilson. He said that Jen Wilkin’s views on women’s roles would lead to trouble. I can’t imagine what he would think of mine! John Piper was concerned men would find themselves being shepherded by women’s books, no Catholic, no Orthodox, no Methodist, no Pentecostal, no one would even think of that. Who cares, it is Jesus who is shepherding. Paul never listed being a woman who leads and teaches a mixed group in a church setting as a sin “… nor theives, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor women pastors, nor women teachers of anyone listening…” oops I added that for effect. We should not resemble Patriarchy at all. We wonder why some of the women’s teaching written by women in those churches can be a bit off, it’s because it is all off. If the women in those churches want freedom and soundness they can come to the churches that are teaching truth and have spiritual fruit. Who are not quenching the Spirit by not allowing women to lead when He calls them. So I see it as an opportunity to multiply and good men are probably sick of patriarchy too.
Our Christian beliefs are on a spectrum in the centre there is a narrow but fairly wide balance beam, this is the path of reason, logic nuance. Unlike an actual balance beam if you get off a little it’s not bad, there is grace for that. If you get way over however your Christianity becomes something else: legalism, harsh determinism, name and claim, patriarchy, odd demonology and just craziness. So check yourself before you wreck yourself. There is room on that path for different thinking, opinion, and personality. God can use us better if we are not all the same. It could be that a sort of complementarianism, the kind that’s not teaching subordination, is fitting for some churches and personalities but it’s not the gospel and it should not become patriarchal. Sometimes it is what we are used to that becomes comfortable and feels like a part of our personality so make sure you are not just comfortable. Egalitarian, that can also go off into something that is not biblical, nor is Egalitarianism the gospel. Sorry but I’m not going to call Father God, Mother and I could go on except I’m not as familiar with run amok feminism and egalitarianism, but some of you are. I became too familiar with patriarchy from other Christians, and books accidentally read, and teaching accidentally listened to more than from my own church leaders. I was shocked to find it was in churches also. Just stay balanced no matter your opinion.
I understand there are many ways women lead and influence besides ministry in the church. I get that mothering and music and the arts and any number of things may be what a lot of women are called to. At least for a season of time, but that doesn’t negate what God is wanting some women to be and do in our churches. Like I said it touches our hearts to be represented even if we ourselves do not have the same calling.
Paul entrusted Phoebe with the letter of Romans.I think if Phoebe would have had the opportunity to plant a church on her return trip she would have and Paul certainly would not have stopped her by saying “Phoebe don’t plant that church!”. You have the book of Romans partially because of her, yet Tim Challies would not allow her to read it publicly in a church setting. Maybe she did plant a church you never know.
*Artist John Collier Priestess of Delphi
I believe in that philosophy which claimed that we
might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. And I think it is because of our defects and disaffections that we weary of life, and not because life itself would not always be glorious to men truly alive. ~ G. K. Chesterton
It is disastrous to think God begrudges what He has given us. If you have ever been depressed or on that frightening edge of depression where it’s slip a little and you know you will be in a pit of despair, in a place much like hell. You know the importance of enjoying life and hanging on, building up that sense of childlike wonder. If I just breath and enjoy this hike this view I will be okay, this situation or circumstances that are so overwhelming will not drown me if I’m mindful of this good thing, the grass, the stars, that tree. It is not idolatry for the person who’s eyes are blinded with tears to grasp for everything good that God has made when they cannot see God. The things themselves are reminders of Him and whispers of hope. “If I can remind myself of the goodness of stars maybe I can remember that God is good”, one tells oneself. Enduring a bad situation until God leads you through it and than healing from that situation requires self-care. Yes, we come to a place where we can see God more clearly and the Holy Spirit is our comfort, yet the awareness of what He has given even when one is not aware of Him subconsciously reminds one of His comfort. I think the hurting and grieved soul is in more danger of giving up enjoyment and is prone to love life too little, to even despair of life than to be drawn into frivolous idolatry. So be careful not to call it idolatry when someone’s eyes are too blurred with tears to see God, but they are holding onto something they can see; it’s a whisper of His hope.
I’ve been thinking about this- how a person leads is by understanding others lead at times better or as well. Remember Peter in Prince Caspian, he lets Lucy lead because she has seen Aslan when the others including him could not. Peter does not lord it over and lead everyone in the wrong direction, which would have been disastrous. The whole of Prince Caspian was plenty of group effort and working together. There is also a practicality in this, it takes the weight off of just one person, it enables them to trust in someone besides themselves and I know what you are thinking “Are they not trusting just Jesus”, yes in a way, but sometimes one may trust their trust in Jesus, but not anothers. It’s good to come to that place where one can say “This person loves Him too”. There is also that place of humility where one knows they are stumbling a bit and in need of help, perhaps their love for Him has grown dull or doubtful due to any number of things and circumstances. Yet the whole while Aslan is the one leading.
In reading Prince Caspian this thought came, as Caspian and Doctor Cornelius are watching the planets I remembered biological life has this inner need to survive to behave a certain way to evolve and one could blame that on mere science with no creator, although I find that a stretch. Yet the heavens, the planets, the stars, we need them they do not need us, they have no inner desire or need to survive but they do, they don’t care if the steps of their dance falters and all come to ruin. Yet even the non biological life has this will to be and work correctly, to ascribe that to chance seems to be the biggest stretch of all. My thoughts is that this life and dance of the heavens and our own planet highly suggests an outside creator.
The easiest way to blog, reblog. This is a folow up to the other I rebloged. Enjoy! it’s brilliant!
I recently wrote a blog to correct the misinterpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:22. You can find it here. I am certainly aware that in terms of the age of internet news, Mike Pence and the Billy Graham rule are the equivalent of 200 years ago, but I can’t seem to let bad theology go, especially when it harms the sheep.
I also know that most readers skim, so please – before you skim, read this paragraph: I have nothing against Mike Pence and his love for his wife and his desire to protect himself as a famous politician with a great deal of power. It seems like a wise thing to do, given his position in our country. So PLEASE don’t think that this post is about that. Also, I don’t know anything about Billy Graham or his rule, having never read his biography. How Billy Graham does things…
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I’ve been giving this some thought also and find this post would describe me because when you take scripture as a whole this is what you get. If one doesn’t take scripture as a whole and one mostly hones in on one verse it tends to become oppressive and even abusive where people are just hit with a “theology” that doesn’t reflect Jesus or scripture.
Some words I have been throwing around the blog lately include complementarian and egalitarian and some of you might be confused what I mean. These words describe two different theories when it comes to marriage and church roles. To define them simply, complementarians believe women pastors should not exist and the wife is to be submissive to her husband while egalitarians believe women have the same ministry opportunities and are equal to men in marriage.
So today, I thought I would try and define my beliefs when it comes to the two.
Firstly, after much investigation into the matter, I hold to the egalitarian belief that women, just like men, can be preachers and pastors. There were a number of women throughout the Bible who held positions of authority and particularly compelling cases include Phoebe, a deacon who Paul exhorted (why would he do that if women could not be…
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It’s good Jesus explained this and His explanation was recorded because some Christians would be obstaining from yeast and condemning those who don’t and calling those whose view of scripture is not wooden unbelievers. There would be debates and arguments and people without a wooden view would say, “What about the fish and loaves, perhaps He meant yeast represented the sin in the form of the teaching of the Pharisees not the literal bread they ate.” The ones with a more wooden view would say “The fish and loaves was before Acts” or “The multiplied bread was unlevened. If Jesus said stay away from yeast that’s what He said, it’s the bible and I believe it…” and on and on… 😄
And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, ” He said that because we did not bring any bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up? How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matthew 16:6-12 NASB
6 “And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
7 yes, I would wander far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
8 I would hurry to find a shelter
from the raging wind and tempest.”
After coming to the end of all wishful thinking and every thought based on defensive hope I started to pray these verses. God provided that safe place through legal separation and soon it will be divorce. I woke up in the middle of the night saying out loud “I hate divorce”. God hates it the same way I hate it. He hates the abuse that broke faith and covenant. As I look back it was a bit broken to begin with. To begin with things were terribly wrong but it’s did easy to be pulled in when one is young.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) holds more true to the grammar of the original Hebrew text of that verse that gets so misqued in Malachi, and is likely closer to the original intent, not every version says it the same.
“If he hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord God of Israel, “he covers his garment with injustice,” says the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.
It’s the hardest thing to file, being the one to file because of injustice and hateful abusive things being said to me, things I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy because those things cut at the very core of ones being. God is just as grieved as I am and He has provided for me seperation and divorce as a safe place for me and my children.
I still pray keep me in this safe place, just knowing 85 percent of women return to an abusive spouse. Divorce closes that door for me. I think it’s closed anyway but there is a vulnerability there if I don’t divorce.
My thoughts on this Sunday morning.
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm…”
Shame on you Paul for making that so public. Almost everyone in the world with a bible read that for centuries, so unchristian of Paul.You need to be quiet Paul and keep that private,you are sinning by writing that, is what some Christians would say.
There comes a point when you can say it, I wonder how long Paul tried and then said to himself.”This guy’s name is going in a letter.” Not in a vengeful way but in a way to warn others and to bring validation and healing to others who had been harmed by this Alexander and one’s like him.