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Joined: 2008/4/1
Posts: 530
America's Heartand

  6 Gender Myths in the Church

what do you think? fair? balanced? misguided?

 2013/1/31 17:57Profile

 Re: 6 Gender Myths in the Church

Acts 18:2 wife of Aquila exiled from Rome, 18:18 went with Paul to Syria with her husband Aquila and 18:26 Apollos was taken aside by Aquila and his wife Priscilla.

Romans 16:1-2. I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Paul asks the church in Rome to accept Phoebe who is a servant of the church at Cenchrea and that she be helped in whatever matter she may have need in, [because] she herself has also been a helper of many, including Paul.

Cenchrea is essentially the eastern harbour of Corinth. It is the place where Paul had his hair cut in order to keep a vow. It is also the place where Aquila and Priscilla went to be with Paul having arrived from Rome, and from which Paul, Aquila, Priscilla left for Syria (Acts 18:18). In short it was in Cenchrea where Phoebe had been of help to Paul. Aquila and Priscilla could no longer return to Rome and so Phoebe went to Rome with Paul’ commendation as to who she was, no doubt to report on the whereabouts and well being of Aquila and Priscilla who had been expressly exiled from Rome by the authorities.

Romans 16:7 speaks of a sister who is also referred to as an apostle in greek (apostolos) meaning “sent out one” as well as one who has suffered imprisonment. She is also referred to as being a “kinsmen” of Paul (related) by geographical citizenship, i.e. Tarsus.

With regard to this article the point to note is a simple one. “sent out one” does not mean “in the local church one”. Apostle is sent out, pastor is greek (poimen) and is translated pastor just once in the whole of the bible (Ephesians 4:11). It denotes a shepherding and feeding of the local sheep. It is a position of authority in the local church. Ought not to be confused with apostolos which is a ministry outside of the local church and is itself subject to local pastors with regard to governance, but with the pastor and elders themselves submitting to apostolic spiritual authority. One, that of governance is earthly governance in the local church, the other, that of apostle is firstly spiritual but is itself expressed geographically in its outworking.

Euodia & Syntyche
Philippians 4:2-3. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. These two sisters are said to have “shared” Paul’ struggles. The purpose of the naming of these two sisters is to encourage them to reconcile their differences as well as to ask the “true companion” to help them together with Clement also [as well] as the rest of [Paul’] fellow workers.

Romans 16:12. Persis means “a persian women” and her name is linked to her standing as “beloved” i.e. Much loved, who has “worked hard in the Lord”.

Colossians 4:15. Nympha is said to own a house in which the church also met.

In these New Testament brethren only one is actually stated to have been involved in what could be included in the term “ministry” according to Ephesians chapter four. The article in the OP link is an attempt to mostly encourage local church involvement for sisters. Clearly the article is intended to specifically endorse the idea of sisters “applying” for ministerial positions. The only “position” which could be reasonably drawn as “being sought” is by inference that of pastor. To answer your question about whether the article is fair, balanced or misguided would require a knowledge of what is really being said.

The use of the term “gender” really sets the context and therefore the question becomes can a female have authority over a male in the church. The reality of scripture is that sisters do have a part to play in the local church, yet their part in the local church is not well defined in scripture. Mr Grady says “Many conservative Christians claim that the apostle Paul limited women in their service (because they take some of his comments out of context) yet they ignore the fact that Paul had numerous women on his apostolic team including Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, Euodia, Syntyche, Persis, Chloe and Nympha.” The passage no doubt, which this brother is referring to, is 1 Corinthians 14:23-39 where amongst other things Paul says “The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says” (v34). This verse is often taken out of context of its explanation [which is] “If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church” (v35). The issue at hand here is not that of opening ones mouth, other wise a sister could not prophecy or speak in tongues, or interpret or even utter a word of encouragement. The issue is one of asking questions of the pastor or elders in the public meeting, which by implication ought to be addressed to her husband and by application of asking him in private, and not the pastor or elders in the public meeting, shows submission to her husband in the meeting and not "another" man.

There is much more that could be said on this article and of course the question at the heart of it. For myself I settled this issue many years ago after wrestling with its reality in local churches and seeing the effect that was produced when sisters were given authority in the local church. Often this effect was very bad and not always because of a particular sister. It was often just as much to do with a brother’ who were against any sister speaking beyond the things which could be said are necessary in exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit as revealed in Corinthians. In the end the Lord showed me that at the point at which male elders and pastors sought the same position for their sisters and persisted in it then just as Israel sought for a king, and was thereafter subject to a king, so in seeking for sisters to hold the position of pastor so all the brethren became subject to the sister who was given such an office of responsibility. The question thereafter was a simple one, submit or leave without rebellion. As I say there is much more can be said than this, but I make a point of not contending with sisters.

 2013/2/1 18:27

 Re: 6 Gender Myths in the Church

As no one else has a view on this article it seems reasonable to add a little more for the sake of fullness, clarity and balance.

Although I have said that I make a point of not contending with sisters directly I do believe that a sister ought not to have authority in the local church. The reason for not contending with sisters, for example in the way the “two pastors” contended in the article, is because it isn’t necessary or desirable.

There is a reality however which cannot be ignored when thinking about this issue of a sister becoming a pastor. Many believers today, as well historically, automatically ascribe to the name “pastor” the exact same meaning as “elder”. Given this reality of application and intentional meaning, it stands to reason that anyone, regardless of gender who is said to be a pastor, must of necessity be said to be an elder as well. Herein lies a profound problem because it is possible to be an elder and not a pastor at all, yet a pastor is often given the place of an elder as well. Of course this is generally true when speaking of “the pastor”, youth pastors and other designations, which are in any event unscriptural, even as dividing the church into various gender and age groups is unscriptural, of themselves create divisions in the meaning and purpose of the ministry of the word. Once you have one unscriptural practise it is only a matter of time before you have others. This particular issue was resolved for me by coming to an understanding that pastor is a spiritual designation and represents a calling and amounts to an individual being given as a gift to the local church, and elder being a thing righteously desired by godly men and being confirmed by others through the laying on of hands. (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

This does of course simply take us full circle because the question, born out of the desire to call sisters “pastor” still has an implication for authority in the church. If a sister is called “pastor” then she must be able to feed the flock or else she is false. This is a real mess the churches have gotten themselves into and it is going to get much much worse still. I have found almost no clarity on this subject and the article itself represent a confusion like so many which in the end does nothing to contribute to a clearer understanding.

Mr Grady asks the question “What part of Galatians 3:28 don’t we understand? Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’”

My question to Mr Grady would be “what part of spiritual reality do you not understand?” In Christ means “in Christ” it does not mean “Christ in us”. So being in Christ speaks of a spiritual reality just as “in Christ” (being born again) simultaneously means “Christ is us the hope of glory” and in the local church means “male and female”. Were the rational of Mr Grady taken to its conclusion then there could be no distinction between male and female in the local church whatsoever. As it is the presentation implied by the words of Mr Grady fall down on the first look. This question cannot be settled rationally it can only be understood scripturally and effectually (Outworking & Effect).

To this end Paul not only had sisters who helped him and at least one of these sisters (Junia) is included in the apostolic designation, but as touching upon the local church Paul said “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must 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. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restrain.” (1 Timothy 2:8-15).

For Junia the outworking was clearly evidenced by her imprisonments for the sake of Christ. Clearly Junia was "among" the apostles in her calling of God and so it cannot be other than expected of her to suffer as Christ suffered for the sake of those who are chosen and called. Yet as she was with Paul one would have to ask whether she taught in the local church or in fact whether she was in any sense part of a local church eldership. If she was, then she stood in contradiction to what Paul himself taught and communicated to Timothy. Again looking at the “in Christ” designation of “neither male or female” Paul reminds Timothy that “the man was created first and then the women” yet this is not “in Christ” this is “in Eden”. It is physically expressed by reason of “being created” and it has to do with “the order which God chose to labour”. As regards to Christ Himself, He was born of a woman according to the flesh and so the first man Adam was created first and then the women, and the "last man" Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) was begotten of a woman. Clearly with regards to Jesus the women is first and the man Christ is second. All this speaks of physical reality.

We cannot ignore physical reality anymore than we can ignore spiritual calling and the fruit thereof. My own feeling is that the die is cast and the end of is is already known. Once the elders of the local church seek God for sisters to be pastors and teachers then it will be so according to their authority no matter what others say about it. Speaking personally I have never permitted myself to be taken in authority by a sister in the local church and therefore if I see deception coming in by that means I simply leave and separate myself. The day when brothers rebuke sisters and call them “Jezebel” are over as far as the western church is concerned. It is already laid waste.

 2013/2/4 6:37

Joined: 2004/5/17
Posts: 235


amrkelly wrote:
My question to Mr Grady would be “what part of spiritual reality do you not understand?” ... Were the rational of Mr Grady taken to its conclusion then there could be no distinction between male and female in the local church whatsoever.

Well spoken. That is precisely the conclusion one would reach from Brady's misinterpretation and the results within the Body would be disasterous. If God no longer sees neither male nor female what would we then deduce when it comes to marriage?

Men and women are of equal worth in the eyes of God, but Father has seen fit to assign different roles.

Grace and peace,


 2013/2/4 8:29Profile

Joined: 2010/11/24
Posts: 296

 Re: 6 Gender Myths in the Church

= misguided.

J Kruger

 2013/2/4 10:20Profile

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