29.9.09

More on Kephale

Just to draw your attention to another piece of literature in which it would seem that Kephale denotes the sense of source or origin and not authority over. See Suzanne's Bookshelf. I wonder if I'll be able to write on Pauline theology without writing about this?

I certainly want to write an essay in which I redeem Paul for the way that he has been thought of by the church as someone perpetuating patriarchal culture. However, having dealt with this such a lot recently, it would be good to write instead so that I might redeem Paul in the sense of the charisms and especially his expectation that our walk in the Spirit should be an experiential thing in which speaking in tongues, for example, was just a normal part of Christian life for the edification of the believer and the church at large if occurring in an orderly way and with interpretation.

Paul was a wonderful, passionate, Spirit-filled, prayerful, suffering, charismatic, humble, egalitarian sort of chap! I'm loving learning about him, thanks to Fee and Dunn.

32 comments:

David Ould said...

Rachel,

I'm afraid the assertion of this fact doesn't help the egalitarian position. If you want to argue that the use of κεφαλη in 1Cor 11 is "source" (and it's certainly within the semantic range) then we asserting that God (the Father) is the source of Christ just as man is the source of woman. Are we willing to claim this and stand alongside Arius?

I don't think so, but that is the position the egalitarian must take if they want to take κεφαλη in this way in 1Cor 11. It's not enough to point out the semantic range, we have to be consistent in usage.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Origin rather than authority over. Okay God the father as origin of Jesus - so are you saying that pushed too far we lose the sense of a pre-existent, begotten and not made Christ and are almost pushing into Arian territory?

David Ould said...

even "origin" won't do. For while we are right to confess that the Son is begotten by the Father this is of another order to that of men/women.

We can't speak of the 2 relationships in the same way at all. When we say that man is the "origin" of woman we are asserting that man came first and then woman. We are also saying that woman is made out of "manstuff". That is clearly something very different to what we want to say about the Father and the Christ.

The Son has no "origin" in the same sense. And it does not help us to argue that a different sense is used since Paul's whole argument is to equate the senses.
Nor should we ever assert that the Christ is made out of "godstuff" taken from the Father.

So it's not a matter of "pushed too far". The very claim itself can't be taken any other way. Arius was clearly wrong and this argument about κεφαλη being "source/origin"leads us straight into affirming everything he taught that was wrong.

We need to go with the exegesis that makes best sense of the original, even if we find the conclusion of it initially unpalatable.

Janice said...

How does regarding Jesus as the Word of God made flesh lead to regarding Him as a created being?

David Ould said...

How does regarding Jesus as the Word of God made flesh lead to regarding Him as a created being?
Well, I never made such a claim so I assume you're addressing this to Rachel.

Rachel?

Rachel Marszalek said...

I don't think I am being addressed.

Janice said...

David, you wrote,

"If you want to argue that the use of κεφαλη in 1Cor 11 is 'source' ... then we asserting that God (the Father) is the source of Christ just as man is the source of woman. Are we willing to claim this and stand alongside Arius?"

Arius is credited with saying that Jesus was a created being and not of the same substance as God.

1 Cor 11:3 "the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."

1 Cor 11:8 "For man is not from woman, but woman from man."

We can use that to say that Christ is not from man, but man from Christ and that God is not from Christ, but Christ from God.

Man was from Christ and was created by Him. However, the woman was from the man but was not created by the man.

There is, therefore, no reason to assume that saying that Christ is from God (or that God is Christ's source or head) is to say that He was created by God.

David Ould said...

Janice,

you will note that I wrote:

When we say that man is the "origin" of woman we are asserting that man came first and then woman. We are also saying that woman is made out of "manstuff". That is clearly something very different to what we want to say about the Father and the Christ.

The Son has no "origin" in the same sense. And it does not help us to argue that a different sense is used since Paul's whole argument is to equate the senses.
Nor should we ever assert that the Christ is made out of "godstuff" taken from the Father.


Please take the time to read it again and to respond to what I actually wrote.

Janice said...

David,

I was responding to your remark about Arius.

But as for your second post, you wrote:

Paul's whole argument is to equate the senses

That's the problem. What is the sense that is to be equated?

Man WAS NOT made from "Christstuff" taken from Christ. Woman WAS made from "humanstuff" (or "manstuff" if you will) taken from the man. Therefore to say that x is "from" y says nothing about the "from what" of which x was formed. Therefore there is no reason to assume that to say that Christ is from God is to say that He was made from "Godstuff" taken from God.

Saying that κεφαλη means "ruler" is to say that Christ is the ruler of man, man is the ruler of woman and God is the ruler of Christ. From that two things follow: Christ is not the ruler of woman (since man is the ruler of woman), and Christ is not God (since a person who is ruled cannot be equal to a person who rules).

Is this really what you want to imply?

David Ould said...

I was responding to your remark about Arius.

But as for your second post, you wrote:

Paul's whole argument is to equate the senses

That's the problem. What is the sense that is to be equated?

Man WAS NOT made from "Christstuff" taken from Christ. Woman WAS made from "humanstuff" (or "manstuff" if you will) taken from the man. Therefore to say that x is "from" y says nothing about the "from what" of which x was formed. Therefore there is no reason to assume that to say that Christ is from God is to say that He was made from "Godstuff" taken from God.


Well then I am glad that you now agree with me. The parallel being made, by your own argument, is not one of creation or 'source' since that would lead us to agreeing with Arius which is clearly incorrect. Thus we are left to pursue the rest of the semantic range of κεφαλη.

Saying that κεφαλη means "ruler"

I don't ever recall saying that. Can you point out where I did?

once again this conversation would go so much better if you respond to what I actually write, not a stereotype.

indeed, this whole wider discussion would go SO much better if so much of the egalitarian argument was not founded on such strawmen.

Janice said...

David,

Well then I am glad that you now agree with me.

No, I do not agree with you.

You appear to believe that to say y is the "source" of x (or that x is from y) is equivalent to saying that x is of the same stuff as y. I have attempted to show that "source" does not necessarily imply "stuff". (Whereas woman is of "[hu]manstuff" man is not of "Christstuff". Therefore, because "stuff" is not implied by "source" (or "from"), using "source" does not lead to "agreeing with Arius".

I don't ever recall saying that [κεφαλη means "ruler"]

Never? I'm perfectly willing to believe you've never said that but I'd be surprised if you don't think it means something very similar. What do you think it means?

David Ould said...

You appear to believe that to say y is the "source" of x (or that x is from y) is equivalent to saying that x is of the same stuff as y. I have attempted to show that "source" does not necessarily imply "stuff". (Whereas woman is of "[hu]manstuff" man is not of "Christstuff". Therefore, because "stuff" is not implied by "source" (or "from"), using "source" does not lead to "agreeing with Arius".
No, that is not what I have been arguing. I have been arguing that whatever understanding of κεφαλη one takes here one must be consistent in 11:3. Paul uses the same term 3 times in quick succession, drawing an obvious parallel. Whatever you assert about the male/female κεφαλη relationship must therefore also be asserted of the God/Christ and Christ/Man relationships. I am thus pointing out that if one takes a "source" meaning of κεφαλη then you end up in all sorts of a mess when you apply it to God/Christ, whether you are arguing for a direct ontological source or not.

I don't ever recall saying that [κεφαλη means "ruler"]

Never? I'm perfectly willing to believe you've never said that

Then I am truly surprised that you ascribe such a view to me.

but I'd be surprised if you don't think it means something very similar.

Oh I see, you have assumed what I think.

What do you think it means?
Is there really any point in answering? You already seem to be very happy to assume what I believe. Seems a bit late in the day to be asking me for my own opinion on what I think.

David Ould said...

Janice, let me outline 1Cor 11:3 in more detail to make the point clearer.

Paul writes:

φελω δε υμας ειδαναι οτι
ανδρας η κεφαλη ο χρισπος εστιν
κεφαλη δε γυναικος ο ανερ
κεφαλη δε του χριστου ο θεος

Given that κεφαλη is used in quick succession not twice but three times, there is a massive burden of proof falling on whoever wants to argue that it is not being used in the same way in each of the three occasions.

Whatever usage of κεφαλη one wishes to ascribe in one instance must also be applied in the two others in the same way.

The classical and long-understood reading of this text has been to read κεφαλη as some form of "headship". To read it as "source" (a somewhat contemporary novelty) leads to all number of problems which I have outlined here.

Can you suggest a consistent use as "source" that will cover all three so that κεφαλη is used in the same way each and every time?

Janice said...

David,

You wrote,

I am thus pointing out that if one takes a "source" meaning of κεφαλη then you end up in all sorts of a mess when you apply it to God/Christ, whether you are arguing for a direct ontological source or not.

And I have pointed out that this only happens if you argue that "source" entails "stuff", which it doesn't.

You appear to believe that because I pointed out that woman is of "[hu]manstuff" but man is not of "Christstuff" I am not using "source" in the same way. In fact I am only pointing out that "stuff" and "source" are separate issues.

The source of man is Christ (because Christ is the Word of God by whom all things were made).
The source of woman is the man (because she was taken out of his flesh).
The source of Christ is God (because Christ is the Word of God made flesh).

In any case, far from "source" being a "somewhat contemporary novelty", in the 5th century AD Cyril of Alexander wrote a passage in which he defined κεφαλη as αρχη. Suzanne McCarthy has posted here two translations of the passage. Wayne Grudem's translation of arche is "ruler". But Suzanne pointed out that, "arche (αρχη) does not mean ruler. It has two meanings: beginning, origin, foundation, source, first principle; and place of sovereignty, power."

Here is the first sentence in Grudem's translation:

The one of the earth and dust has become to us the first head (kephale) of the race, that is ruler (arche): but since the second Adam has been named Christ, he was placed as head (kephale), that is ruler (arche) of those who through him are being transformed unto him into incorruption through sanctification by the Spirit.

Here is the same passage as translated by Kroeger Clark:

Therefore of our race he became first head, which is source, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is source, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the Spirit.

Was Adam the beginning/origin/foundation/source of the human race or was he the ruler of the race with a place of sovereignty or power?

David Ould said...

The source of man is Christ (because Christ is the Word of God by whom all things were made).
The source of woman is the man (because she was taken out of his flesh).
The source of Christ is God (because Christ is the Word of God made flesh).

And there is my argument once again. You have used κεφαλη in three distinctly different ways in quick succession (agency, ontological derivation/generation and finally perichoresis) - whereas Paul in 1Cor 11:3 obviously intends them to be parallel statements. Your reading of the text is far more complicated than a simple equation of terms.

As for translating κεφαλη as αρχη, all I want to note is that if κεφαλη was good enough for God's apostle then I'll stick to understanding κεφαλη without the need for an intermediate translation.

The question still remains "why would Paul use the word κεφαλη three times in quick succession if not for us to understand each usage to be identical?"

Your reading you have provided has three different meanings in one breath. Once again, does it not strike you that the only reason for doing so is because a consistent usage of κεφαλη here would mean conceding the complementarian argument? And that should never be the way we do exegesis yet it is what the egalitarian must insist upon.

Janice said...

You have used κεφαλη in three distinctly different ways in quick succession (agency, ontological derivation/generation and finally perichoresis)

No I haven't. Once again, "source" doesn't necessarily entail "stuff".

if κεφαλη was good enough for God's apostle then I'll stick to understanding κεφαλη without the need for an intermediate translation.

That's not what you're doing. If that's what you were doing you would understand κεφαλη in its literal sense, as "head". It requires translation because it's used metaphorically. The "head" of every man is not literally Christ's head.

You are translating κεφαλη as "headship" but what does "headship" mean? Complementarians think it means "ruler of", "authority over", or "boss of". But to say "the 'headship' of every man is Christ" makes no sense.

Now translate κεφαλη as complementarians translate it:

The "ruler of/authority over/boss of" every man is Christ (because Christ is the Word of God by whom all things were made).
The "ruler of/authority over/boss of" woman is man (because she was taken out of his flesh).
The "ruler of/authority over/boss of" Christ is God (because Christ is the Word of God made flesh).

Am I providing "three different meanings in one breath"? Or can you see that "rule" does not necessarily entail "reason" any more than "source" entails "stuff"?

Furthermore, do you really think that God is the "ruler of/authority over/boss of" Christ?

Php 2:10-11 "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (RSV)

Is 45:23b "To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear."
Is 45:5 "I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God".
Is 45:6 "there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other."
Is 45:18 "I am the LORD, and there is no other."
Is 45:21 "there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me."
Is 45:22 "I am God, and there is no other." (All RSV)

How can God be the "ruler of/authority over/boss of" Christ when Christ IS God?

I've lived most of my Christian life as a complementarian. I've never done anything of any significance without asking my husband first if it would be OK and I will continue that practice, not because I still think he's the boss of me but because considering the interests of others is the very least Christians are supposed to do. The only thing that has changed for me is that I now think he owes it to me, not as a kindness but as a duty, to consider my interests as well as his own.

What scares me is the burqafication of women that rabid complementarians espouse and are teaching young faithful women to believe is required of them. It's not just that they teach that women may not preach to men in a church but that they teach that women, no matter how advanced their level of theological training, may not speak anywhere where men may be present. I've seen it happen. And it's all being justified by the teaching that God is the "ruler of/authority over/boss of" Christ.

David Ould said...

Janice, the use of "burqa" and
"rabid" in quick succession on your part along with the rest of it means that this conversation is at an end.

I can happily accept the fact that you consistently fail to actually respond to the argument that I make. But I will not be party in a discussion where perjorative language is used. There is little point to it, least of all for the sake of our godliness.

Rosemary said...

David, I suspect that Janice has experience of "burqa" type treatment from the hands of her 'Christian' husband.

Janice, you say you believe you should 'consider the interests of others' as a Christian duty. Should you not therefore give that same consideration to so called egalitarians, we're not all the same!

Our biases can get in the way of our understanding. Pity, because I was enjoying your discussion.

Janice said...

Hi Rosemary,

You wrote,

I suspect that Janice has experience of "burqa" type treatment from the hands of her 'Christian' husband.

Actually, no. In the early years of our marriage he had a tendency, because of ordinary youthful selfishness, to think that whatever he wanted must surely be best for everyone in the family. I went along, though not without argument, because I thought it was my duty. But it cost me dearly and, in the end, that cost him dearly too and that, eventually, taught him to think of me as a person rather than as an appendage. My husband is no longer young and is a fine Christian man.

But "burqa" treatment is something else. Its aim is to cut women's voices/presence out of the society of men, not just in church but everywhere. The man who made me realise this is ordained. He was organising an outreach meeting at the local, state-run, university and said he hadn't decided whether women (visiting from interstate) should be allowed to speak at this meeting. When I asked why he said, "1 Timothy 2:12". Recently I've been told that the women, themselves, were hesitant about speaking in men's hearing.

I regard those women as having been taught/enculturated by rabid complementarians - rabid complementarians as opposed to moderate complementarians. The rabid ones are the ones who consider that women shouldn't take any sort of job where they may ever have to give direction to a man - not even street directions. It's all there in "Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood" by Piper and Grudem. You can download it for free.

I don't know what you mean by this,

you say you believe you should 'consider the interests of others' as a Christian duty. Should you not therefore give that same consideration to so called egalitarians, we're not all the same!

But as for this,

Our biases can get in the way of our understanding.

I couldn't agree more.

Janice said...

David,

You wrote,

I will not be party in a discussion where perjorative [sic] language is used.

On September 6th 2009, at this post on "Hermeneutics and Human Dignity", you made the following comments in reference to specific individuals:

1. it would leave you looking particularly mean-spirited and petty. Not to mention sophomoric in your argumentation

2. Your caricature of RB's position is, frankly, quite churlish, and

To thus represent her position in such a way is doubly insulting: it shows an unwillingness to actually read her accurately and it shows a contempt of character in assuming that she maintains no personal consistency.

3. Frankly, it makes you look unpleasant when you use such arguments because all they do is communicate that you think your opponent is an idiot.

Is that pejorative language?

At this site you wrote,

you consistently fail to actually respond to the argument that I make.

No. I have merely failed to agree with you. I hope (for your sake but also, more importantly, for the sake of any people over whom you may have pastoral care) that one of these days you will study communications theory and learn that telling people to re-read what you wrote is not helpful. If you don't think you've been properly understood it would be better if you attempted to clarify your position by putting it in another way or by expanding on what you have already written.

That's what I have tried to do. I have moved from pointing out that "source" doesn't necessarily entail "stuff [of which the person was made]" to pointing out that "rule" doesn't necessarily entail "reason [the person is ruled]". And that's another clarification.

Rachel Marszalek said...

This has been so interesting to follow and Janice, I think you have handled the discussion very graciously. I have learnt a lot from the interaction which has gone on here. Thank you for communicating confidently and carefully what I also feel. It is interesting attending Greek classes at the moment. The word explored in passing the other day was the one to have caused a lot of the controversy for women's service in the Church: the word 'authentein' of one Timothy 2, and simply understanding it as 'usurp authority' with all the overtones of even 'murdering someone' etc helps to clarify the Church of England's decision to ordain women. They understand that women are not forbidden from teaching per se - instead all people are encouraged not to 'lord it over' one another when they have only one Lord - Christ.

Rachel Marszalek said...

I think that the restrictions that some Christian faith groups place on women is very much something of our time, from which we are being redeemed. No doubt there are many of us who have literally groaned awaiting restoration (as we all do until he comes again) but being released to proclaim the message of God's love to both men and women is most certainly a gift which I can not imagine God would deny women whom he has called and equipped to do this through the anointing of his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not work in ways which are contrary to scripture but for as long as some read the scriptures through a culturally conditioned lens which is much tarnished by its kick against an imaginary feminism, the church in places will restrict women's roles. As you say there are some moderate and some rabid complementarians. I suspect David is moderate rather than rabid. I am not sure whether he would argue with John Piper, for example, that a female boss with a male secretary is engaging in something which 'compromises the humanity' of them both. Our humanity is not compromised if we are in Christ and obedient to his Spirit, only by the sin which is a product of our falleness. It is when complementarians present any behaviour contrary to their teaching (I am thinking here of CBMW) as sin that we are indeed in dodgy territory, much of CBMW's teaching is extra-biblical.

In his defence, David presents arguments from scripture and not this extra biblical stuff with which it is mistakenly easy to identify his views at times. He is simply practicing a hermeneutic which differs from ours.

What is more difficult is dealing with those critical readers who posit their reading as the 'plain reading'. That's when one is really at a loss for words because until we see him face-to-face, none of us can claim that we have it all wrapped up. I would like to see complementarians admit their selectivity about the scriptures and also admit that on this issue they can understand why differences of opinion arise.

David Ould said...

I have moved from pointing out that "source" doesn't necessarily entail "stuff [of which the person was made]" to pointing out that "rule" doesn't necessarily entail "reason [the person is ruled]".

And yet neither of those were my argument, as I have explained more than once. Yet, you have failed on each occasion to actually engage with my argument.

In the first instance that could just be a simple mistake. But when it happens more than once it speaks to something different. Which really makes me think you should not make patronising statements about "learning communication theory".

David Ould said...

I can not imagine God would deny women whom he has called and equipped to do this through the anointing of his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not work in ways which are contrary to scripture

Rachel, I would suggest that this betrays not a different hermeneutic but actually a different view of authority.

What you are describing is an appeal to an experienced call which is then used to interpret the Scripture. You perceive obvious giftings to teach and a desire to do so to mixed congregations as "obviously" of the Spirit and then see how the Scriptures may be read in that way.

all well and good, but it would help the discussion to actually acknowledge that that is what is going on.

Rosemary said...

Janice, I’m surprised. You keep raising the issue of your husbands dominance in various posts both here and in New Zealand, yet you say now it was youthful selfishness. Therefore I must conclude I suppose that either you have not forgiven him for this youthful selfishness .. of which of course you were NOT guilty!! Or in your pride, you still feel superior and able to comment on it. It does not seem to be forgiven and forgotten, as far as the east is from the west!!!

As I don’t know anyone personally who wants to ‘cut out the voices of women, not just in the church but everywhere,’ I cannot comment on your statement. As for implying that this is the attitude of both Piper and Grudem .. well I’m gobsmacked. I haven’t read either man on any subject, although I own a Grudem book I keep meaning to read, but I’m amazed at the arrogance of anyone giving such sweeping condemnation of Christians in good standing. Perhaps I should not be so surprised, because that is what I was referring to in my previous post. If you believe that you should always give consideration to your husbands wishes, listen to what he says .. then too, you must give consideration to the views of myself and David Ould, listen to what we say. Or as David puts it .. read what he has written, rather than what you think he’s saying .. otherwise your first ‘consideration’ is invalidated surely? Can you not see that when you advise someone to study communications theory, when you yourself communicate so poorly, it invalidates your advice?

Now if I may speak both as a woman, and as an ‘elder’ within my own church community. You may wish to know more about me before you would consider my words. If so, may I suggest you ask Peter Carrell who not only shares your views on the ability of women to teach men, but who is a senior member of a completely separate Diocese who knows me fairly well, and has definitely suffered some harsh words from my pen.

I think your main ‘beef’ is equality. Neither of you feel that you can possibly be equal unless you are permitted to do certain things by the church which calls you .. and you ARE called. In particular, you both feel that you should be able to ‘teach’ in mixed congregations, or even that you are called to ‘teach’ men. The fact that you cannot show me a direct command from Scripture suggesting such a thing, ought to make you stop and think, but rather, you both continue to pick holes in other Scriptures suggesting they don’t mean what their plain reading suggests they mean. I would however wish you to recall three things first and foremost. First, the role God gave you as women in Genesis, and what an honour and privilege that is. Secondly, that Our Lord Jesus did NOT call women as His Apostles. He called them in many and varied roles, but not as Apostle/Teachers. Thirdly, that after the Fall, the curse we face as women is that we are tempted [sinfully] of being either a doormat, or of being too bossy. I admit I lean naturally towards the latter, I am almost NEVER a doormat, but ‘in Christ’ those are the two issues we must fight against within ourselves. I could go on to discuss the curse men face, but we all know them so well don’t we???!!! [continued]

Rosemary said...

May I ask, what is it you would teach men? What is it you believe that only you [only women] can teach them? May I ask why the teaching office is so precious to you, when our call to serve is so vast? The pastoral responsibilities that come with the office of teacher are great and cause great anguish to those holding such offices, why do you seek to hold it?

Our Lord gave me one husband and four sons, so perhaps I am more aware than most of the extreme vulnerability of men. Yes, I know that we women are also vulnerable, we can feel in Christ that we are second class citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We were created it seems, almost as an afterthought, we appear to be guilty through Eve, of leading the whole of mankind astray .. and that latter should make us sit up and think indeed. But let us NOT think of ourselves, let us think of our menfolk and our children. Not just our husbands, but the menfolk in our church. What is being achieved by the stridently anti men blogs run by women that we see around us? [Rachel, I do NOT accuse you of this.] Rachel runs a blog here that is tremendously brave, she bares her soul in a way I want to warn her not to do, because in Christ, I am very fond of her. But the main thrust of this blog is the role of women and her personal gifting in Christ. Both concern her and her alone .. they are not edifying to the wider church community, they are not edifying or honouring of men. What does such discussion teach us about Jesus? How does such discussion help our menfolk to deal with their curse from the Fall? How does it help married women? Single women? Girls? Boys? Your sons and daughters? Whom does it serve?

I have never examined exactly what is a complementarian or an egalitarian, in fact, did I make a mistake above and use the wrong word? It wouldn’t surprise me, that’s how ignorant I am. But I DO know that I hold a valid view of the role of women from our wonderful Scriptures. I am called to serve, not to think of myself, but of others FIRST. I am NOT saying that I’m very good at that, far from it. But my understanding from Scripture is that my main task in service, is that of helpmeet. A helper .. NOT a leader. And yet I declared myself an ‘elder’ above, what gives me that right? I do not CLAIM that office, it has been bestowed on me by the Vestry and congregation of my community. Mostly I don’t want the role, and feel sure others could do it much better. But Rachel too seeks the confirmation of her church to give her the office she seeks, in that she is completely correct. Plus that way we can claim the ‘authority’ without blame can’t we?

I’m also not saying we could not be excellent teachers within our church. I’m sure we could, just as we are excellent school teachers and doctors and are well on our way to usurping men’s traditional roles in those two occupations. I’m asking, is that the role God would have us hold? If so, why? What is it we have to offer in Christ? Where is the Scripture so calling us? [continued]

Rosemary said...

All I really want to say is ‘beware.’ Beware that you are not distracted from the path that Our Lord would have you tread, the VERY unglamorous one of servant. Beware that you do not denigrate folk who do not hold your position on this matter. Especially I ask you not to denigrate men who hold the same position as my own. They genuinely [whether it is right or wrong they will answer to God] believe that they are protecting women if they are true pastors .. from this very onerous office. Have you noticed how few men speak about this issue any more? Women, with their name calling .. a mild one would be “You misogynist you” .. and their self righteous call for justice have caused more than a few good men to remain silent. WE are at fault for that and in my opinion, should repent. Don’t denigrate David, who I haven’t met, but I read both his and his twin brothers blogs. Ask questions, read what he says carefully. Pull him up if his words contradict Scripture or if he fails to treat you as a complete equal. There should NOT be a battle between men and women .. if there is, then the devil is deceiving Christ’s church, and what’s more, he’s ruining it.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Interesting David - you have discerned indeed that many of my experiences as a Christian have been experiential and I then have to check their concordance with scripture, this is what has happened with many of my experiences of what some call 'second blessing', wherein the experiences of Cornelius and Apollos have helped me to make sense of what I have experienced. Word and Spirit work together so that we might encounter the Living Word himself to the glory of the Father!
Blessings
Rachel
Thanks for journeying with me.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Rosemary,
Unlike you I do not sense anything untoward in Janice's explanation of her marriage. Instead I identify with someone who, like me, is equally prepared to be vulnerable and transparent about her own experiences.

You say:
"There should NOT be a battle between men and women .. if there is, then the devil is deceiving Christ’s church, and what’s more, he’s ruining it."

About this too I am passionate. God intends for us to be a complementary whole. We are made in his image.

The language you use for Eve is interesting and I am sure you are aware of the Hebrew Ezer Kenegdo and all the overtones that this has of rescuer. I am sure you are also aware of God's benevolence, pulling Eve not from Adam's head to rule over him or from his feet to become less than him but from his side so that on seeing her he recognised an equal.

Marriage is beautiful and God-given. I think what Janice and I both struggle with is the tendency some theologians have (not yourself or David) to be very prescriptive about what this means for women in the Church and the world. If you had read Grudem and Piper on this issue you would understand what we mean. Grudem and Piper have done much to bring people into the loving presence of the living God, I am sure but this aspect of their teaching (gender roles in the world proscribed) is not taken on by many faithful Christians.

I am glad that you love me in the Lord. My site never set itself up for anything but to be a place where I can bear my soul and seek edification. It is by God's grace alone that it might speak to others and if you perceive that it is not then that is to be mourned over by me and I will pray that it works better as a written testimony to the wonders of the God I love and worship and the salvation that is ours through the blood of his Son and perhaps you could pray that for it too.

continued

Rachel Marszalek said...

Since I started theological college, the site is starting to serve the needs of fellow students in that I post up links for them so that they might access resources to help them in their study of ministry and the scriptures. I also have another blog - angelutterances which gives testimony to what I see God doing.

I am not sure how God is going to use such a rude vessel as myself only that I am sure he has a use for us all and may we long continue to explore our faith and encourage each other in it by loving each other both in our words and actions.

Sometimes David and you have a tone which is more aligned with admonishment and rebuke then encouragement but then perhaps God makes some of us encouragers and others admonishers - we can learn from each other. I know I have a tendency not to admonish, doing so quite scares me just in case I have actually got a great deal to learn, which of course we all have.

Exscuse the waffle but something within me feels a little grieved about how what you are saying might not actually work to build up and encourage Janice in the Lord - our dear sister.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Rachel -- and the reminders that none of us students are above our Master.

I think I agree with the view of Paul held by Chrysostom who was Archbishop of Constantinople around 400 A.D.
Chrysostom was by no means an egalitarian, however look at what he says about Paul.
In his commentary (Homily 26) on 1 Corinthians 11 he says, "For had Paul meant to speak of rule and subjection, as thou sayest, he would not have brought forward the instance of a wife, but rather of a slave and a master."

I believe that Dr. Catherine Kroeger translates the two words "ἀρχὴν" and "ὑποταγὴν" as "chief" and "authority over" rather than "rule" and "Subjection."

Perhaps because of that, Dr. Wayne Grudem seems to have had a difficult time finding this text.
He even goes so far as to say that it doesn't exist!
See: www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/kephale.pdf
(Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 44:1 (March 2001) p. 25-65.)
(I find the footnotes especially interesting.)

Dr. Grudem states, "The most striking quotation in Dr. Kroeger’s article was a statement from John Chrysostom (AD 344/354–407), which, if accurate, would appear to settle any dispute over whether κεφαλή meant “source” or “authority over,” at least in the Christian world of the fourth century. Kroeger writes, (p.26) 'In view of Scripture ascribing coequality of Christ with the Father (Jn. 1:1–3; 10:30; 14:9,11; 16:15; 17:11, 21), John Chrysostom declared that only a heretic would understand Paul’s use of “head” to mean “chief ” or “authority over.” Rather one should understand the term as implying “absolute oneness and cause and primal source” (PG 61.214, 216).'"
Dr. Grudem continues, "But is this what Chrysostom said? Kroeger claims (1) that Chrysostom is making a statement about the meaning of κεφαλή; (2) that Chrysostom denies that κεφαλή can mean “chief” or “authority over”; and (3) that Chrysostom says that only a heretic would understand the word in that way."

Well, the greek text that Dr. Kroger points out is:

Καὶ πῶς ἑτέρως ἐκληπτέον; φησί. Κατὰ τὸ αἴτιον. Καὶ γὰρ εἴπερ ἀρχὴν ἐζήτει εἰπεῖν καὶ ὑποταγὴν ὁ Παῦλος, ὡς σὺ φὴς, οὐκ ἂν γυναῖκα παρήγαγεν εἰς μέσον, ἀλλὰ δοῦλον μᾶλλον καὶ δεσπότην.

Thanks to Google books we can all see the very text that Dr. Kroger referenced and Dr. Grudem was unable to find (though somehow he quoted the text just preceding and just following):

books.google.com/books?id=CM4GAAAAQAAJ&lpg=PA11&ots=5KH-73V6UA&pg=RA1-PA268#v=onepage&q=&f=false

(the bottom of page 268.)

We can all read the translated version here:
www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.xxvii.html


Anonymous

David Ould said...

thanks for the comment, anon (it would be nice to have a name to thank...)

I think the quote above yours is even more powerful:
Therefore if we choose to take the term, “head,” in the like sense in all the clauses, the Son will be as far removed from the Father as we are from Him. Nay, and the woman will be as far removed from us as we are from the Word of God. And what the Son is to the Father, this both we are to the Son and the woman again to the man. And who will endure this?

I have to say, this is the first decent argument I've heard the other way, but I'm still struggling to understand quite what is being argued here.
"Rule and subjection" are rejected by Chrysostom, clearly, but then he goes on to write:

For with us indeed the woman is reasonably subjected to the man: since equality of honor causeth contention. And not for this cause only, but by reason also of the deceit (1 Tim. ii. 14.) which happened in the beginning. Wherefore you see, she was not subjected as soon as she was made; nor, when He brought her to the man, did either she hear any such thing from 151God, nor did the man say any such word to her: he said indeed that she was “bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh:” (Gen. ii. 23.) but of rule or subjection he no where made mention unto her. But when she made an ill use of her privilege and she who had been made a helper was found to be an ensnarer and ruined all, then she is justly told for the future, “thy turning shall be to thy husband.” (Gen. iii. 16.)

At this point I have to move from what he's arguing. It seems to me that Paul is arguing from Creation (as he does in 1Tim2 too), not the Fall.

Can I be bold enough to say that Chrysostom has it wrong - perhaps yes. He speaks of the "reasonable subjection" of women but then draws it from the Fall. I think he's wrong on this.

Perhaps it's helpful to see what he's trying to protect - I think he's arguing against the Arian position, that when we speak of "headship" too strongly we break down the equality of ontology.

This deserves some more time on it.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.