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Thinking and Living Biblically in a Gender-nuteral Society - 19 Objections to Complementarianism

Series: Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Sermon by J. Ligon Duncan on Aug 20, 2003

1 Timothy 2:8-15

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Thinking and Living Biblically in a Gender-neutral Society
Biblical Manhood and Womanhood series
First Presbyterian Church
Jackson, MS
Dr. J. Ligon Duncan

19 Objections to Complementarianism
1 Timothy 2:8-15

Some of you may be here for the first time, so let me just walk you through just two or three things by way of introduction, we’ll look at the Scripture together and then I'm going to try to answer some objections to complementarianism. All summer long we have been arguing what we have labeled just as shorthand “complementarianism.” That is, that men and women are designed to complement one another; they’re not identical in their nature and their roles; they are equal before God in His justifying grace; in membership, in the family of God, they are equally loved of God, used of Him in a variety of ways; but they’re actually complementary–they are different. We've said that the motto of Scripture is vive la difference! It's just wonderful that men and women are different and whereas, in this society, any admission that there's difference between men and women is sort of frowned upon as if this is somehow punitive towards women. The fact of the matter is that this is something to be celebrated. The Bible never apologizes for the fact that God has made men and women different; it celebrates that fact because we complement one another. So, we've been making an argument all summer long that this is in fact, what the Bible teaches. That God created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and n is the church as part of God's created design. That's how He meant it to be. He meant for men to take a spiritual responsibility in leadership in the home and in the church, and we've argued over and over that God teaches in the Bible that spiritual leadership in the church, for instance, is to be taken up by qualified male elders. Thus, the teaching office of the church is restricted to men who meet the range of qualifications that God has established in His Word. And we also argued two weeks ago when we were together that the preaching and teaching ministry in the church is undelegatably vested in the elders of the church who are qualified according to 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Now, we based those assertions about complementarianism on a range of New Testament passages, and we singled out five the last time we were looking at this. I've got those five listed on your sheet. What I'd like you to do is go to 1 Timothy 2:11-14, and let's refresh our minds with that Scripture as we launch into answering some objections that are raised to complementarianism.

Here's what 1 Timothy 2:11-14 says. “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness, but I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet for it was Adam who was first created and then Eve. It was not Adam who was deceived but the woman who being quite deceived fell into transgression.” This is one of the four passages that we spent some time looking at the last time we were together.

Now, flip your page over and you will see the 19 objections that I'm going to attempt to respond to. We've said all along, that there are a variety of ways that people argue against the teaching of Scripture on this particular point. Some people will say, “The Bible is wrong.” And frankly, we're not going to spend time responding to people who outright reject the Bible on this issue. I think most of us here are evangelical Christians; we have a high view of biblical authority. If there is someone who doesn't have a high view of biblical authority, and you’d like me to give you some reasons why to have a high view of biblical authority, I'd be delighted to talk with you about that at some time. I'm going to leave those kinds of objections aside. I think I can answer them competently; I've had to do it in the past, but for most of us those aren't the things that we're wrestling with.

The second thing that we hear is this kind of an argument. “Well, the Scripture says that, but the Spirit is saying to us…” And so it's the Spirit versus Scripture. Frankly, I'm not going to get into that very much tonight, because in and of itself, that has enormous problems with regard to a real high view of Scripture. But, if you are wrestling with that and you’d like some answers along those lines, I'd be delighted to talk with you about those things as would any of our ministers on the church staff. What I want to zero in on are some of the kinds of objections raised to complementarian teaching by those who more or less would think of themselves as evangelical, conservative, Bible-believing Christians. The kinds of objections that they might raise to this particular teaching.

Frankly, the number of objections that have been raised are staggering. I was reading an article by a good Southern Baptist friend, Tom Shriner, who is a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, now. He was writing an overview of some of the articles that have been written over this subject during the year 2001, and he said that as he was reviewing the literature, he realized that book after book after book was being written to rebut the historic Christian view on this issue. And each of these new books was trying to come up with new arguments, whereas those who were writing from a historic Christian perspective just had to keep saying the same thing over and over again. He said, “How many ways can you say the same thing?” And yet, when each of these new books come out, new arguments come along attempting to foster these views. Let me say, as I've tried to catalog some of the views, I have to agree with Tom. I am amazed at the types of arguments and objections that are being generated every day. So, when I give you 19, this is just a sampling of the kinds of things I have run into in my reading.

Some Common Objections to the Complementarian view, which, though often emotively powerful and personally significant, cannot answer it or do justice to the Scriptures.
(The complete list appears at the end of the text)

1. These texts are examples of temporary compromise with the patriarchal status quo, while the main thrust of Scripture is toward the leveling of gender-based role differences?

In other words, “Don't you think that these Scripture passages reflect the patriarchical, hierarchical—and if you wanted to get polemical about it–male-chauvinist attitude of the culture around the New Testament, rather than reflecting the general biblical thrust towards equality in gender roles?” My answer to that is, “No.” Let me tell you why. First of all, the male-female role distinctions in these passages. Isn't it interesting that Paul goes out of his way to tell you where they come from, and twice he tells you they come from where? Creation. And once he tells you they come from where? The Law. By the Law he meant the five books of Moses, the pillar, the essential, the first and prime part of the Old Testament canon. And so, Paul grounds this teaching not in the contemporary patriarchal status quo of Greco-Roman culture at the turn of the first millennium. No, he grounds it in the Bible; he grounds it in the Creation, in the order that God set forth in Genesis one and two, and in Scripture, and in the Scripture written by Moses. Secondly, if you read the Bible, what you don't find is some sort of a thrust at abolishing male spiritual leadership in the home and the church, and female respect for that spiritual leadership in the home and the church. If there's any theme, it's of the word “transforming” the way we relate to one another improperly, but reinforcing and expanding the ways that we relate to one another properly. So there's no biblical theme working against the idea of male-female distinction and role differences. And thirdly, you will never find the Bible bringing an indictment against the loving headship of a man who is the spiritual leader of his home. Show me a passage in the Bible that indicts a man for being arrogant when he's trying to do his best as a loving, spiritual leader in the home. You won't find an indictment of a man doing that in the Bible. And if that is, as our evangelical feminist friends say, actually denigrating women to suggest that a man should have spiritual headship, then you certainly don't find any indication that it is in the Scriptures. So, for that reason, I'd say, “No, these texts are not an example of a temporary compromise with the patriarchal status quo.” Paul was not the kind of guy that compromised with contemporary standards. Remember how Paul reacted to the Jewish people who told him that all of his missionary helpers had to be circumcised? “No, I won't do that.” That is how Paul dealt with people who told him that he had to do things that were unbiblical. Now, if there were people who were struggling over things, he’d bend over backwards to accommodate them, but the minute somebody said to him, “You've got to do it this way,” and they didn't have a biblical reason for it, he’d buck up and say, “No, I'm not and, in fact, I'm going to tell everybody that I'm not.” So Paul by nature was not a compromiser.

2. The arguments made to defend the exclusion of women from the pastorate today parallel to the arguments that Christians made to defend slavery in the nineteenth century.
This is a very common objection that you hear in circles today, and it's a very effective ad hominem. “Yea, you guys who don't think that women should be preachers; you guys that talk about all this submission and headship business are making the same argument that the people who defended slavery were making a century or more ago.” What do we say to that? Again, I say, “No.” The arguments are not the same. Let me give you two or three examples of what I mean. First of all, the preservation of marriage is not parallel with the preservation of slavery. Marriage is rooted in Genesis 1 and 2. Jesus explicitly says marriage is something that is derived from the principles that Moses gave us in Genesis 2:24-28. Jesus himself roots marriage in the original Creation order. Nowhere is slavery listed as part of the original Creation order. In fact, when you go to slave laws of the Covenant Code in Exodus 21-24, you find out a couple of very interesting things. All but one of the slave laws in the Covenant Code written by Moses and given to Israel, are about slaves rights. So, far from being a code to establish slavery, the Covenant Code was designed to mitigate the worst aspects of slavery experienced in the sphere of Israel's life. So, it is a very, very different thing with regard to marriage and slavery. Secondly, Paul's regulations about how husbands and wives relate to one another in marriage do assume the goodness of marriage. None of Paul's instructions of slavery assume the goodness of slavery. Third, and finally, Paul's regulations concerning marriage are just as rooted in the Creation order as is marriage itself. We've already argued that marriage itself is rooted in Genesis 2:24-28, but remember Paul's instructions on male-female role relationships in the church in 1 Timothy 2:8-15, are also rooted in Genesis 1, 2, and 3. So Paul goes right back to his arguments on how men and women are to relate in marriage and in the church to the original Creation order unlike arguments that defend slavery. Let me suggest that the implication by our evangelical feminist friends who argue, “Look, you guys are making the same kind of arguments that people who are arguing for pro-slavery a century and a half ago were making.” I think that argument could go the other way just as easily. That is, I think a lot of good people in the nineteenth century were influenced by their culture more than they were by the Scripture in this area. I would argue the same thing in regard to our evangelical feminist friends. They’re more influenced by the culture than they are by the Scripture. That argument could actually be turned around back to them.

3. But Jesus liberated women! He exploded our hierarchical traditions and opened the way for women to be given access to all ministry roles.
What I want to ask first is, “Exactly where in the gospels are you getting this idea?” Jesus often turns out to be the spokesman for whatever “Johnny-come-lately” movement somebody wants to co-opt him for. Remember when one of the great historians of the Jesus Quest Movement, the movement to go back and find the real historical Jesus, made this observation about many of the people who had been involved in this quest for the historical Jesus? He said, “They looked down the long well of history in their search for Jesus, and when they saw their reflection at the bottom of the well, Jesus looked an awful lot like they did.” In other words, they made Jesus into their own image. When they stripped away all of the accessories and incrustations and accoutrements to Jesus that they claimed had been developed over the years, Jesus looked a whole lot like they did. Jesus’ values looked like their values, and constantly, I find people making that argument. By the way, that is one of the beautiful things about a very significant change in the Baptist faith and message. Some of you have followed the changes that have been made by our conservative, evangelical southern Baptist friends in the Baptist Faith and Message over the last several years. One of them was to change to something that had been put in the Baptist Faith and Message about a half century ago. It was a statement that Jesus was the criterion by which we interpret Scripture. Now, A. you might think that there's nothing wrong with that statement. B. You might think, “I don't know what that statement means.” C. You might think, “I've never thought of Jesus as a hermeneutical principle before.” Jesus as a criterion by which we interpret Scripture, and actually, our reactions to all three of those statements would be interesting to follow up on, but let me tell you why that statement was put in there. That statement was put in there by Baptists who were Neo-Orthodox that wanted to undercut the authority of Scripture in certain places by being able to say, “Yes, well, that's not in accord with what we know Jesus would think or do.” Even if they had no indication from the Scripture itself that Jesus would think or do those things. And so, our good conservative, evangelical Baptist friends basically went back in there and said, “We’re not going to let you have that little escape hatch because what the Bible says is what Jesus says. The Bible is Jesus’ book and we're not going to let you play Jesus versus the Bible.” This kind of argument, that Jesus liberated women, is often used in that sort of a surreptitious way—Jesus versus the rest of the Bible.

So, the first thing I want to ask is, “What are the exact passages that you’re pointing to where Jesus liberated women, say, to become ministers, or to become the heads of their home, or whatever else it might be.” Of course, there are not examples forthcoming. No one denies that Jesus treated women well, and no one denies that Jesus’ ministry had revolutionary implications for women. And no one denies that women fare extremely well in Christianity as compared to, say, Rabbinic Judaism in Jesus’ time. But when Jesus chose His core of disciples, whom did he choose? Here's his opportunity to be a liberator, and he chose twelve men–one of them was a louse. Surely, there was a gal around somewhere who was better than Judas. So, there was His big opportunity, and He didn't do it. Again, this is a Jesus versus the Bible kind of argument that's being pulled off here.

By the way, some of you who have picked copies of 50 Common Questions on Manhood and Womanhood that we have on display in the Church Library will notice that many of these questions come out of that book. I'm giving my own off-the-cuff responses to them, but that's one reason why we recommend that little book. It's got good questions and good answers on these issues.

4. The significant roles women had with Paul in ministry show that his teachings do not mean that women should be excluded from ministry.
The way that is phrased is misleading. We’re not arguing that women should be excluded from ministry. We’re arguing that women should not be elders and pastors. That is very different from saying that women shouldn't be in ministry. Women have always been and will always be in ministry. We delight that women are in ministry. The question is: How are they going to be in ministry, and what are they going to do? What are the roles they will have in ministry and what are the roles that are going to be reserved for elders and preachers who are godly, qualified men? The issue isn't whether women should be excluded from ministry; the issue is whether any of the women serving with Paul in ministry fulfilled roles that would be inconsistent with a limitation to the eldership of men. When you study the story, the answer is that women didn't fulfill roles that would contradict Paul's teaching on the proper role relationship of men and women in the church, and especially and all male, godly, qualified eldership.

Following on that, one might ask, “Well, what about Priscilla?

5. Priscilla taught Apollos didn't she (Acts 18:26)? And she is even mentioned before her husband Aquila. This shows that the practice of the early church did not exclude women from the teaching office of the church.
Priscilla taught Apollos, and she was always listed first–Priscilla and Aquila.” Look, I've had plenty of Priscillas in my life, and I'm thankful for them; they’re some sitting in this room. But let me tell you that the most Priscilla-like women that I have met have no desire whatsoever to be preachers. They've greatly impacted preachers; they've given wise and godly counsel; they've even had to administer some admonitions to preachers; but they've done it privately and respectfully of those men's spiritual authority in the church. It's not a power thing for them. I think it's very dangerous for us to go back and try to reconstruct Priscilla and Aquila's relationship. Paul doesn't tell us what their relationship was like. We have precious little about how they related to Apollos. So, what do you see happening? People try and read things into the text and then argue from the things they've read into the text for a particular view.

6. But the Bible says that there were women who prophesied in the New Testament church, so how can you not be in favor of women being pastors and elders?

7. Seventh argument: Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:34 says that “women should remain silent in the churches,” but it doesn't seem like your position is really literal because of how much speaking you really do allow to women. How do you account for this straightforward prohibition of women speaking? You don't really say that they have to be silent in the church, so aren't you just being as easy going with the interpretation and application of Scripture as we are when we say that women are able to be ministers and elders now? Well, again the answer is, “No.” We’re not being inconsistent because you have to understand what Paul is asking women to be silent in. Paul himself clearly says that women have the ability to prophecy (1 Corinthians 14); they have the ability to pray, to sing; so there is all sorts of verbal participation for women in the worship of church. You have to ask yourself what Paul means when he says “women are to be silent in the church.” Does he mean women have to be totally silent? Are they under a gag order? Are they like some sort of monk in the Roman Catholic Church who has taken a vow of silence and can't speak in the confines of the church building? No. Paul tells us what kind of speaking he is talking about in 1 Corinthians 14. We looked at that several weeks ago; it's authoritative teaching–that's the kind of speaking he is talking about. He's talking about preaching and teaching the Word in an authoritative way the way an elder or minister is to teach the Word. So, if you’ll look at 1 Corinthians 14, 1 Corinthians 11, you can figure that out. Paul will use a phrase and that phrase has to be understood in context. We’re not arguing that phrases don't need to be understood in context; we're arguing that they do need to be understood in context. We use all sorts of figures of speech which we really mean, but which we don't mean to be taken in some sort of a crass-literal nature. If one of you comes up and makes a good argument to me and I say, “He hit the nail on the head.” Nobody else in this room would think that I was asserting that that person had taken a hammer out in the course of our conversation and smashed a nail into a piece of wood, because I was using an idiomatic expression. So you have to interpret what I've said. On the other hand, if Vic Clark had been over to my house working on something, and I said, “He hit the nail on the head,” I might have been talking about Vic hitting a nail into the wood. So you have to look at the context to determine how the language is being used. We’re simply saying, “Go and see what Paul says when he says that women must remain silent.” When you look at the context, he's not saying universal gag order on women speaking at church; he's saying, “Women, leave the preaching of the Word to the ministers and elders.” That's what he's saying—pay attention to the context.

One of the favorite arguments is, “But what about Galatians 3:28?” Galatians 3:28 says ‘There's neither male nor female;’ you’re all one in Christ. Doesn't that take away the gender as a basis for role distinctions in the church?” The answer is, “No.” Think about it. If we're going to take “there is neither male nor female” to the max, let's don't stop at gender roles. What about homosexuality? That’ll work for them just as well as it will for an evangelical feminist arguing for gender equality, won't it? There's neither male nor female? That sounds like a pretty handy text. But clearly, Paul is not saying that there is no longer maleness and femaleness. He's arguing something very different here. Yes, men and women are equally justified by faith, equally freed from the bondage of legalism, equally the children of God, equally clothed with Jesus Christ, equally possessed by Christ, and equally heirs of the promises of God. But there's still women and there's still men. Paul will go on in that book and others to address them distinctly in their roles as men and women and ask them to act certain ways because they are men or women. So this passage is not an argument against the continuing existence of anything distinct about men and women. Certainly it's not an argument against male-female role relationships and distinctions in those role relationships in the church.

9. But there were women prophets and leaders in the Old Testament. How do you explain that?
How about Deborah? How about these prophetesses in the Old Testament? Let me just stop right there and say, “Praise God, for that.” I say that for a couple of reasons. By the fact that God chose women to be prophetesses in the Old Testament, and by the way, in the New Testament as well, you see evidence that God and the authoritative, Holy Spirit inspired prophets and apostles who wrote Scripture did not think that women were some sort of inferior being incapable morally or intellectually to fulfill some significant role in the Kingdom. You have just gotten proof positive that God, who wrote Scripture and the men that He used to write it were not chauvinists. They openly declared that God used women in these extraordinary ways. So let's stop and praise God for that forever debunks the idea that the “thugs” that wrote Scripture were knuckle-dragging Neanderthals that just need to be enlightened into our modern ways of looking at women which are much more higher and more appreciative and affirming ways of looking at women. No, these men who wrote Scripture acknowledged that God used intelligent women for significant roles in His kingdom–even the roles of prophetesses. Let me also say this. The office of prophecy and the act of prophecy are not tied together. Saul, it was said, was numbered among the prophets. He didn't have the office of prophet, and his prophesying was taken away from him. Secondly, God used a lot of folks in the Scripture as conduits to speak to His people that were not taken to be role models for how the offices of the church were to be operated. For instance, Balaam, the enemy of God's people was used to prophecy to God's people. And friends, without being offensive to my dear sisters in Christ, let me remind you that Balaam's ass was also used to prophecy to the people of God. He used a donkey to speak His word to Balaam. So, God can use anything He wants to prophecy, and is may or may not have any implication whatsoever with regard to the issue of office in the Church.

Finally, female prophetesses, especially in the Old Testament, are the exception that proves the rule. For instance, if you look at the story of Deborah, it is clear that one reason that God brings Deborah onto the scene to take up that role as a judge and a prophetess, is because Barak is wimping out on his responsibilities. So, to rebuke Israel, God raises up Deborah to basically say, “Barak, get off your duff and do your work, man. You’re called by God and you’re falling down on the job. If you fall down on the job, then I’ll just raise someone up that normally is not called to be in this role.” So she's the exception that proves the rule in that regard.

10. If a woman is not allowed to teach men in a regular, official way, why is it permissible for her to teach children?
Again, the premise is the reason we say women aren't to teach and preach authoritatively in the church is that they are incompetent to do so. That is not our argument. Furthermore, the dynamic of women teaching children, and male children, does not impinge upon the dynamic of showing proper distinction in male-female role relationships amongst adults. That's an entirely different situation. Although I would want to say, and I'm very happy that we've got a lot of men, including elders in this church, that invest themselves in Sunday School teaching with young children. We should not simply hand off the teaching of young children to women as if either a. that's the only thing women can do, or b. that men ought not be involved in that. What a tremendous blessing it is for young children to see godly men in Sunday School classes and in Day School classes and rolling around with them on the floor in Kindergarten and interacting with them. Children need to see godly men and women relating to them.

11. Isn't the complementarian view guilty of a selective literalism when you say some commands in a text are permanently valid and others, like, “Don't wear braided hair” or “Do wear a head covering,” or “Don't eat shrimp,” are culturally conditioned and not absolute?
You’re selective; you get all bent out of shape when we don't follow 1 Timothy 2, or 1 Peter 3, or 1 Corinthians 11 or 14, but you guys pick and choose too. Let me say this. If you show me that it is what the Bible says, I don't care how uncomfortable it is for me, I’ll do it. That's my commitment. If the Bible says it, I don't care how uncomfortable it is for me, I’ll do it. Secondly, no, we're not selective. Let's go back to the “shrimp” argument. This is not a matter of going back to some obscure ceremonial law in Leviticus and yanking it out and plopping it on your plate today. I didn't go to any Old Testament passages, I went to New Testament passages. Interestingly, every New Testament passage I went to was a cross-cultural passage; it wasn't a passage where it was Jews talking to Jews. It was Jewish Christians talking to Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians in a cross-cultural setting mostly outside of Israel. So, if ever there was going to be a time in which you are breaking down cultural traditions and constraints, you would think it would be them and —boom–you have this uniform testimony that this is the way male-female relationships are supposed to work. So, again, are we being selective? No. When you go to those passages like “Don't wear braided hair,” and “Let your external adornment not be in the wearing of fine clothes and dresses and pearls and such,” you have to interpret those things in context. Again, I want to say that we have to be ready to do whatever those passages say. It's just a matter of understanding what they mean. And then the argument comes, “But doesn't Paul argue for head covering for women in worship” by appealing to the created order in 1 Corinthians 11.

So, are your women wearing head covering? Well, there are several questions to be asked in 1 Corinthians 11. We looked at them a little bit two or three weeks ago, but one thing is this. Is Paul saying that creation dictates a head covering that is not hair, or a hat or a veil? Or, is he saying that it dictates a head covering which is long hair, or is he saying that is dictates a head covering which appropriately expresses, in that cultural context, that a woman is acknowledging her femininity and her particular role that God has assigned in the Lord's church? Those are three legitimate things to talk about in that passage. Whichever one it is, I'm ready to do. Now, I don't think it's the first and maybe not even the second one; but whatever it is, I'm ready to do because I'm not going to be selective with regard to Scripture. Again, that is an argument trying to make an appeal to Paul's teaching look ridiculous in light of our current practices today. In my opinion, it's not really a respectful argument against Christians.

13. What about missionaries? How is it consistent to forbid the eldership to women in our churches and then send them out as missionaries to do things forbidden at home?
Well, I certainly hope that we don't. Let me say that the greatest women missionaries in history never intended to go to the mission field to do what they couldn't do in their home churches. In fact, the greatest women missionaries in history were supportive of precisely this kind of a complementary view of male-female role relationships, and an all male preaching, teaching, pasturing office. You can look through the greatest women missionaries in history, and they are in lock step on that. There are gazillions of things that women can do on the mission field just like they can do here in the home church that do not violate these principles. That is why they go to the mission field. They don't go to the mission field to get away from these principles; they go to aid the work of the expansion of the gospel. That's why we send out women missionaries here at First Pres–not so they can go do things there that they can't do here but for which our brothers and sisters across the sea and the missionaries that are there that they are going to be supporting and working alongside of are in desperate need for.

That's all we have time for tonight. Let's pray.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word, and as out of step as Your Word is with the thinking of so much of the culture today, we pray that, first of all, You would help us to be faithful to it; secondly, that we would be gracious in the way that we are faithful to it, and kind in dealing with those who differ with us. We also pray that we would practically practice this in our own lives and congregations. That will mean praying for men to really be spiritual leaders, and not just to have that as some unrealized, unstriven for ideal, and that we would really pray for godly women in our church to respect the spiritual leadership of husbands and elders in the congregation and to support that work and to train younger women in the truth of the word and in the practice of proper male-female role relationships. We pray, that as a congregation, we would be a sweet savor of Christ in the way we live this out before the watching world. We pray that it would be a blessing to us and a witness to Christ and the gospel, and that it would bring you glory and honor. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.


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Some Common Objections to the Complementarian view, which,
though often emotively powerful and personally significant,
cannot answer it or do justice to the Scriptures

1. These texts are examples of temporary compromise with the patriarchal status quo, while the main thrust of Scripture is toward the leveling of gender-based role differences.

2. The arguments made to defend the exclusion of women from the pastorate today parallel to the arguments Christians made to defend slavery in the nineteenth century.

3. But Jesus liberated women! He exploded our hierarchical traditions and opened the way for women to be given access to all ministry roles.

4. The significant roles women had with Paul in ministry show that his teachings do not mean that women should be excluded from ministry.

5. But Priscilla taught Apollos didn't she (Acts 18:2 6 )? And she is even mentioned before her husband Aquila. This shows that the practice of the early church did not exclude women from the teaching office of the church.

6. But the Bible says that there were women who prophesied in the NT church, so how can you not be in favor of women being pastors and elders?

7. 1 Corinthians 14:34 says that "women should remain silent in the churches," but it doesn't seem like your position is really literal because of how much speaking you really do allow to women. How do you account for this straightforward prohibition of women speaking?

8. But doesn't Paul's statement that "There is . . . neither male nor female . . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28) take away gender as a basis for distinction of roles in the church?

9. But there were women prophets and leaders in the Old Testament. How do you explain that?

10. If a woman is not allowed to teach men in a regular, official way, why is it permissible for her to teach children?

11. Isn't the complementarian view guilty of a selective literalism when you say some commands in a text are permanently valid and others, like, "Don't wear braided hair" or "Do wear a head covering," are culturally conditioned and not absolute?

12. But doesn't Paul argue for a head covering for women in worship by appealing to the created order in 1 Corinthians 11:13-15? Why is the head covering not binding today while the teaching concerning submission and headship is?

13. How is it consistent to forbid the eldership to women in our churches and then send them out as missionaries to do things forbidden at home?

14. Do you deny to women the right to use the gifts God has given them? Does not God's giving a spiritual gift imply that He endorses its use for the edification of the church.

15. If God has genuinely called a woman to be a pastor, then how can you say she should not be one? In Romans 16:7, Paul wrote, "Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was." Isn't Junias a woman? And wasn't she an apostle? And doesn't that mean that Paul was willing to acknowledge that a woman held a very authoritative position over men in the early church?

16. Isn't it true that the reason Paul did not permit women to teach was that women were not well-educated in the first century? But that reason does not apply today. In fact, since women are as well-educated as men today, shouldn't we allow both women and men to be pastors?

17. How do you know that your interpretation of Scripture is not more influenced by your background and culture than by what the authors of Scripture actually intended?

18. Isn't giving women access to all offices and roles a simple matter of justice that even our society recognizes?

19. If a group of texts is hotly disputed, wouldn't it be a good principle of interpretation not to allow them any significant influence over our view of manhood and womanhood? Since there is significant disagreement in the church over the issues of men's and women's roles, should we not view this issue as having a very low level of importance in defining denominational, institutional and congregational standards of belief and practice?

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This transcribed message has been lightly edited and formatted for the Web site. No attempt has been made, however, to alter the basic extemporaneous delivery style, or to produce a grammatically accurate, publication-ready manuscript conforming to an established style template.

Should there be questions regarding grammar or theological content, the reader should presume any website error to be with the webmaster/transcriber/editor rather than with the original speaker. For full copyright, reproduction and permission information, please visit the First Presbyterian Church Copyright, Reproduction & Permission statement.