Back to the beginning again

I have reasons to consider 1 Tim 2:11-15 again. I will not explain why but I will update this post once the event I am leading is complete.

Just when I thought I had lain this down...

Well, I do not think that it is to be.

Brain keeps whirring and it stirs something deep within to be called again into a place where the hermeneutics on this passage might be opened up afresh.

I come at it now with a gentler heart-beat, a steadier hand exegeting and a broader and more grace-filled approach.

I am an evangelical, I believe in the Word of God as inspired and true and having now read and read around this topic, understand that the Church made its decision to ordain and consecrate women because of its reading of the scriptures too. Society got there before the church but the church did not make its decision because of society, however it does enable us to have a more effective voice in society.

Anyway, as a colleague and I work out what we are going to say, i shall pray that we can deliver our thoughts perhaps a little more objectively than perhaps I might have done a few years ago.


“The Bible and Gender Equality,” by Rebecca Merrill Groothuis 

Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, ed. Ronald W. Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, with Gordon Fee

Equal to Serve: Women and Men Working Together Revealing the Gospel, by Gretchen Gaebelein Hull

“Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11-15,” Linda L. Belleville

Good News for Women: a Biblical Picture of Gender Equality, by Rebecca Merrill Groothuis

I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, by Catherine Clark Kroeger and Richard Clark Kroeger

BAILEY, K.E., Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. Cultural Studies in the Gospels

WRIGHT, N.T., Women's Service in the Church http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Women_Service_Church.htm

Rosemary Radford Ruether, 'Women-Church Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities', Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1985

GROOTHUIS, R. M., The Bible and Gender equality

(http://www.cbeinternational.org/new/pdf_files/free_articles/groothius_bible_genderequailty.pdf) Nov 08

ASHLEY R., 'Can a Woman Have Authority Over a Man?', in HARRIS, H. & SHAW, J.,The Call for Women Bishops, London, 2004

BELIZIKIAN, G., Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible says about a woman's place in church and family, 3rd edition, U.S.A, Grand Rapids, 2006

MARSHALL, I.H., 'Mutual Love and Submission in Marriage', in Discovering Biblical Equality,ed.s) R. W. Pierce and R M Groothuis: IVP, 2005

NOVAKOVIC, L., 'I Have Seen the Lord' in Mutuality, Spring, 2006 (http://www.cbeinternational.org/new/pdf_files/free_articles/Novakovic_Mary_Magdalene.pdf) Nov 2008

STORKEY, E., Created or Constructed. The Great Gender Debate, Cumbria, Pasternoster Press, 2000

TILLEY, M.A., Catholic Biblical Quarterley; Jan 2008, Vol. 70 Issue 1, p.156-157 'A Review of MADIGAN, K. & OSIEK, C. (eds.). Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History Baltimore/London, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003'


David Ould said...

"society got there before the Church".

Seriously? The World which does not know Christ nor has no desire to please Him somehow managed to prophetically beat the Church to discern God's actual mind on this issue, one on which the Church has held also unanimous consent for most of its history?

Rachel, is that honestly what you want to argue?

Peter Ould said...

For what it's worth, my thoughts are here (half way down the page) - http://www.peter-ould.net/2010/02/12/submit


... said...

emmm- ah - okay - see what you are getting at - my comment was a bit careless - what I mean is that the world - the context I live in, (yes, the world is a lot bigger than my context, I realise that -) anyway, to make my point - women have served their society in leadership positions perhaps for longer than they have served in leadership positions in the church. I know there are huge theological implications regarding what we mean by leadership...perhaps haven't the space here...

Regarding your comment I think that it touches upon the contextual model you bring to inform your views of the world. It perhaps hints at 'visible' and 'invisible church' theology as well.

After being submerged in ministries working alongside the secular over the summer, I have come to wonder with Barth whether at times the church can be the inner circle of the Kingdom of God, and the state the outer. Can the world not exhibit the behaviours of a compassionate God by his common grace? Spina explores the biblical narratives where, 'outsiders... do something that promotes the agenda of [God], their outsider status notwithstanding... and magnify the emphasis on God’s sovereignty and grace.'

I still struggle with these issues that you raise for me once more. In Hooker's Ecclesiastical Lawes, it is proposed that people are in receipt of God's revelation through 'the lawe of reason [which] doth somewhat direct men how to honour God,' but Barth disagrees, proposing that 'the power of God can be detected neither in the world of nature nor in the souls of men.'

I am by nature an optimist, although it is Christ's nature I seek, however that the society I live in pushes for the equality of women I can only read as an advancement of the Kingdom of God and certainly NOT as an advancement of the reign of the devil!

Thanks Peter - always like the thinking that has to be done when challenged.

Rach said...

...have not read yout 'submit' thing yet but will do -
I also need to look further into Barth who seems to contradict himself because of the way I have been overly simplistic in my use of him - should be better on Barth by end of next college module ;-D

rob culhane said...

Please see the website: Christians for Biblical Equality (there are websites for the USA and Australia) which have a good range of resources supporting the role of women in leadership and by implication, ordination. (Most from a considered, Evangelical tradition.) Also, my daughter's essay at http://www.cbe.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:leon-morris-essay-prize&catid=38:conferences&Itemid=81
(She one first prize for the essay.)
and my essay at http://www.cbe.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57:are-women-fully-human-if-so-&catid=37:theology&Itemid=58

Yours in Christ, Rob

+Edmund said...

Society? Got where? Before whom?

Society freely elected Adolph Hitler Chancellor...society freely chose to stage the Bolshevik Revoluion...Society chose to separate America and England...Society chooses to admit women to the professions nowadays...Society, farcically, believes that women have a right to "choose abortion."

Society can say what it likes, and Christians must deal with it as best we may. As far as our household of faith is concerned, it roundly rejects religious leadership roles for women. So do other religious bodies in the world. There is a consensus: look at it and accept it.

Look at Islam---which is part of society, as you'll leap to affirm. It grows in our midst, and its women dare not show their faces in public. Look at Orthodox Judaism---which is growing, while Liberal/Reform Judaism is dying. Look at Catholicism, look at Eastern Orthodoxy---both robust and growing while waffling liberal Protestantism circles the drain. Look at the Southern Baptists---the largest Protestant body in America, having beaten the pants off the liberal Methodist church years ago.

It is the consensus of people of faith that men should lead.

Please, look in a mirror before you chant about "society." Your concept is so profoundly puritanical, so deeply and poisonously exclusionary, that you forfeit all moral standing.

You confuse and entangle so many issues---you chant so badly out of key---that there is simply no dealing with you.

As far as women's ordination and homosexuality may intersect---in the confused minds of one "society" or another (as if it mattered): let me point out, for simply sanity' sake, that the Bible contains absolute, apodictic prohibitions on the former. We are decisively debarred from preferring women, and not simply on the grounds of I Cor 14 and 2 Tim (which "society" says wasn't by Paul, so it doesn't count).

On the other hand, while scripture is negative in all of its references to same-sex genitality, there is nothing like the apodictic, absolute, specific ban on ordination as there is for females.

Hence, you may well think that Robinson's election and preferment in New Hampshire was ill-advised, scandalous, morally confusing, and the like. But you CANNOT call it "invalid."

However, no woman, from Pentecost to this hour, has ever received, held, or transmitted the Apostolic Succession. Not one single female, anywhere, ever.

Then again, you probably are deceived by "Theodora Episcopa" and other childish tricks like that.

When women's ordination is introduced, it is always at a staggering religious cost. Honesty is the first victim. No real, vital connection to the historic faith is any longer possible. Church becomes a kind of kindergarten for grown-ups, a therapeutic session, a long train of irrelevant "I thinks" in the pulpit, none of which can save or heal a human soul.

It is worst of all in Anglicanism, which has rested nigh these two hundred year on a Catholic theology. This is now blown to splinters, and no one can any longer say "it's almost Catholicism." No, it is Unitarianism in drag, with good music (often).

Sister, let the dead bury their dead. You have bigger fish to fry. And Jesus Christ does not call you to the altar. if you stand there, step down, for your own soul's welfare. If you see one at the altar, leave that church and go elsewhere.

Rach said...


" As far as our household of faith is concerned, it roundly rejects religious leadership roles for women."

I do not recognise that 'household' - whose?
Can you be specific +Edmund?

Islam - "its women dare not show their faces in public." I do not agree that we are dealing with 'a do not dare' here. More complex than that, nuanced.

"It is the consensus of people of faith that men should lead." Where is there a consensus? Have you evidence for such bold claims?

I do not consider myself 'exclusionary' but questioning and seeking. If anything, I am more inclusive than exclusive. I understand Jesus to be inclusive and the gospel and the Missio Dei.

Who are "we"? We do not "prefer" - God has no favourites, surely.

"Scripture contains a clear ban on the ordination of women." Where? It is quite hard to make a case at all for ordination, as we think of it in the Anglican church, from the Scriptures.

In your conclusion you make a secondary issue (the ordination and consecration of women) a primary issue, you make it a salvation issue. It is not.

Fascinated by who you might be Edmund. Usually the + in front of a name denotes a Bishop. Perhaps you could tell readers here a little bit about yourself.


I do not recognise myself in some of the answers you give in your response to questions I haven't posed here - ie about the Episcopal church and Gene Robinson, on abortion and Islam etc but interesting to hear your views, nevertheless. However, I do not think you have engaged with my views on these issues here. You do not know what my views are.

Tim Goodbody said...

hmm, much as +Edmund makes my stomach churn, it is playing into the hands of those like him to say things like "society got there first", especially since scripture and the early church testify to women in leadership, a situation which was (short version) squashed with the advent of the Christian Empire post Constantine. Arguably then society is responsible for the erosion of the role of women in Christian leadership.
A liberal approach would say that "society got there first" is a good reason to admit women to all 3 orders, but that is firstly to ignore plenty of Biblical material affirming women's Christian leadership and secondly to mistake leadership per se as being the same thing as Christian leadership.

good on you though



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A little background reading so we might mutually flourish when there are different opinions