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Thinking

Support Biblical Gender Equality TODAY!

Used with permission.

Used with permission.

Today, November 12th, is “Give to the Max Day” for “GiveMN,” which means a number of organizations are eligible for matching grants to help support their growth and outreach. I want to bring your attention to one organization which is near and dear to my heart, Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE). CBE’s mission statement reads:

CBE exists to promote biblical justice and community by educating Christians that the Bible calls women and men to share authority equally in service and leadership in the home, church, and world.

Such a cause is of immense importance and value in our world. I have personal experience with CBE as a volunteer, writer, and supporter. I love this cause and have a heart for it. You can donate to help support this cause here.

Please consider donating today to help spread the good news that God is not a God of limiting through gender. Thank you.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

35 thoughts on “Support Biblical Gender Equality TODAY!

  1. Their stance is not Biblical at all and actually ignores the majority of Paul’s letters and singles out one verse in Galatians that they severely use out of context.

    Posted by David | November 12, 2015, 4:59 PM
    • Although this is not the place to have a discussion like this, I felt this was worth responding to in brief. First, this comment demonstrates unfamiliarity with the group’s argument. Their site has an enormous amount of exegetical/theological articles, which go across the whole spectrum of biblical evidence. It does not “single out one verse…” but is holistic. Second, I don’t know of any egalitarian scholar who rests their case on Galatians. This is a clear misrepresentation of the egalitarian position, which again shows a lack of engagement in the opposition. I am not saying this derogatorily, but honestly: if this comment is actually what you think of egalitarianism, it is impossible for you to have interacted with egalitarians generally, or CBE specifically.

      A few book recommendations: Philip Payne’s “Man and Woman, One in Christ” – a look at the entire Pauline corpus from an egalitarian perspective. Richard M. Davidson’s “Flame of Yahweh“- a survey of sexuality in the Old Testament which demonstrates an egalitarian perspective from the Old Testament.

      Just the existence of these two monumental studies (totaling over 1000 pages of text, without bibliographical pages and the like) shows that the egalitarian position is not to be reduced to how you’ve portrayed it. If you’re interested in genuine dialogue, it is best to not misrepresent the opposing position, even in deep disagreement. Your comment has not shown this interest in genuine dialogue, but I hope you’ll use the free articles on CBE and the book recommendations so that you don’t betray that same ignorance of the other side again.

      As for me, I was convinced by the biblical evidence that the egalitarian position is the biblical position. I do not reduce my argument to Galatians 3, nor do I ignore the “majority of Paul’s letters.” Again, I know of no egalitarian scholar who does so, which leads me to the conclusion this comment was more of a lashing out than any kind of position taken from a knowledge of that opposed.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 12, 2015, 9:06 PM
      • It came from their about us page.

        Posted by David | November 13, 2015, 7:55 AM
      • I know. But apparently, browsing one page was enough for you to conclude that they don’t interact with the rest of the Pauline literature and the like and that they are unbiblical. That’s exactly my point. This is an emotional, deep issue, but people on either side owe it to each other to take the other side more seriously. That means not reducing the other side’s view down to a few lines on an about page. I was a complementarian myself–not just casually but convinced complementarian–for several years (I don’t count growing up in that position without thinking about it, but I was raised in that position). I have read an enormous amount of complementarian literature, from my own Lutheran tradition to the massive works like “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.” I take complementarians seriously. I think that complementarians should return the favor.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 13, 2015, 8:26 AM
      • I’ve taken it very seriously. But if you are only putting one verse on the about us page, that is a problem. You should clearly articulate your position which if it is as you say, they have not done.

        That being said, even without that, their position is unbiblical. Women are not to lead the church. Paul made that explicitly clear. There is no other way to interpret that if you use honest interpretive skills.

        Posted by David | November 13, 2015, 8:41 AM
      • The most prominent complementarian organization, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood only cites 5 passages on their page. They don’t deal with any counter-position at all. According to the reasoning you’re presenting, that must mean that is their entire case. It is quite flimsy, without any exegesis of the verses presented.

        Again, this is not the place to debate this. I have written some pieces on egalitarianism on this site, and CBE and the books I’ve cited provide extremely in-depth answers. I’m not going to debate the issue here. What I will say is I think you are deeply mistaken in your position, as I think the complementarian position in general is deeply mistaken. If we want to talk about Paul, he explicitly names women as leaders in the church. But that’s the last I’m going to say in response here.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 13, 2015, 9:09 AM
      • Where does he name a woman as a leader in a church over a man? Please just send me that reference and I’ll be done.

        Posted by David | November 13, 2015, 9:15 AM
      • Junia is listed as an apostle in Romans 16:7. Yes, I am aware of the ESV’s interpretation of that verse which they turned into a translation; yes I am aware of other objections. No, none of these are solid evidence against the plain fact that Junia was among the apostles. See Epp’s book “Junia: The First Woman Apostle” or David Williams’ “Junia: A Woman, An Apostle” (the former is very specific and detailed on Junia being clearly a woman, which is what the NA28 allows, contra ESV, while the latter addresses in detail CBMW’s counter-attempts and distortion of facts in trying to undermine Junia as an apostle). But again, investigating this issue requires the intellectual desire to engage with the opposite position rather than just reading one’s own position and then assuming that is right over and against all comers.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 13, 2015, 9:20 AM
      • I will look into it, but upon first reading of that verse as a cursory, there is no way that is the case, and that is without using the ESV. But I will look into it.

        Posted by David | November 13, 2015, 9:28 AM
      • “I will look into it… there is no way that is the case…”

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 14, 2015, 1:29 PM
  2. The Greek does not say they were apostles, nor does any credible English translations. It says that they were noteworthy among the apostles.

    I could be of note among congress, but that doesn’t make me a congressman. It is nonsense to argue that Junia was herself an apostle.

    Posted by David | November 16, 2015, 8:33 AM
    • It is not nonsense. It follows the witness of the church fathers with near unanimity, and is argued for thoroughly from the Greek by Epp in the book I cited, with various scholars like James D.G. Dunn, Douglas Moo (no friend of egalitarians), and more as the view of the text itself. However, given your clear preconceptions guiding your view, again to quote your own words, “I will look into it… there is no way that is the case…” it is hardly surprising that you happened to discover exactly what you set out to find. I’m not going to debate this further. You are blinded by your presuppositions and clearly seeking the answers only in those circles in which you’ll find the answers you want. The moment you made an statement like “I will look into it… there is no way that is the case…” you betrayed that mentality, but I was hoping you’d at least honestly investigate. The fact that you can come along and say it is “nonsense,” thus dismissing such church fathers as Theodoret, Chrysostom, and John of Damascus speaks not only to the cursory “study” you decided to undertake but also the attitude with which you approached it.

      I hope one day you’ll approach the topic with an attitude of theological humility rather than hubris. To explore a topic from a stand point of “I will look into it… there is no way that is the case…” is hardly conducive to honest exploration. I think we can agree that was not the case in this instance. Good day.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 16, 2015, 9:39 AM
      • And now you call me a liar. You act as if I have never studied the topic before, I have. But all of your evidence is circumstantial and goes against Paul’s teachings in other locations of Scripture. Also note that the word Apostle has different meanings and connotations. So if you want to have an honest discussion, let’s have one. But if you are just going to dismiss me as a liar implying that I didn’t do a study worthy of being called a study, then I am not going to let you waste my time. Continue on with your heresy then.

        Posted by David | November 16, 2015, 10:08 AM
      • I did not call you a liar anywhere. I quoted your own words showing that your preconceptions were already set before you even looked into it–your own words. The fact that you’re willing to now call egalitarianism a heresy shows a continuation of that mindset. Christianity Today last month had a pretty solid article on how heresy is defined and how Christians shouldn’t go around just dismissing views they disagree with as heresy. Alister McGrath also has an excellent book on Heresy and how it is to be defined and used; i.e., not as a way to poison the well against theological opponents. Although I think complementarianism is mistaken and needlessly restricts 50% of all humanity from spreading the Gospel to the full extent of the gifts given them, I do not believe it is “heretical.”

        Again, I was using your own words, not calling you a liar. I used your own words. Anyone can read your comment and see that you explicitly, in the same breath, said you’d investigate moments before saying there was “no way” the view you were going to investigate could be correct. Calling my evidence “circumstantial” when I cited book-length studies demonstrates an unwillingness to engage. So far as I’m concerned, the conversation is over. You may have the last comment, if you desire–but keep it civil and try to refrain from labels that simply don’t apply.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 16, 2015, 10:14 AM
      • Complementarian does NOT restrict the spread of the Gospel. It restricts offices held within a church body. Women should absolutely share the Gospel, and should absolutely teach as long as they are not in authority over men.

        As far as heresy, heresy is anything that goes against orthodoxy and the view you trying to put forth most certainly does. The idea that I call anything and everything I disagree with is a heresy is simply false. I think Arminian theology is dead wrong, but I do not call it a heresy. It is a disagreement.

        However, when you completely overturn the gender roles given in Scripture, CLEARLY DEFINED, in Scripture, that is a heresy. After all, the Bishops and Elders are supposed to be husbands of one wife. Last I checked, a woman couldn’t be a husband.

        In order to further your view you have to ignore what Paul said in other epistles. Picking and choosing verses out of context is not good theology.

        Posted by David | November 16, 2015, 10:32 AM
      • “Complementarian does NOT restrict the spread of the Gospel. It restricts offices held within a church body. Women should absolutely share the Gospel, and should absolutely teach as long as they are not in authority over men.”

        If women should not have authority over men, it certainly hinders their spreading the gospel to men. After all, if a woman say “Jesus died on the cross for you” it is an authoritative statement on what Jesus did.
        Teaching without authority is ridiculous – we call learned people (those who know enough to teach – “authorities” on their subjects.
        Certainly, if a certain group can have no authority over 50% of adults, it restricts the amount of people who can be influenced by their teaching.

        Posted by Retha | November 17, 2015, 1:07 PM
    • Let’s just look at the logic of that statement. Now, if you didn’t know any American history and I told you Abraham Lincoln was noteworthy among the presidents of America, would you assume he was just well- known to the presidents, but not a president himself? Likewise, if a certain actor is noteworthy among this years Oscar nominees, would you assume he is neither an actor nor one of the nominees? The answer is clearly no in both cases. To be “noteworthy among” some group of people, you must first belong to that group of people. In the case of Junia, this is the majority scholarly position. Those who believe otherwise try to argue that she was just “well known to the apostles,” which has been fairly soundly discredited as a possible translation of this text.

      And, of course, as suggested by the name of Scot McKnight’s book on Junia and women leaders, “Junia Was Not Alone.” Scripture gives us many instances of women with spiritual authority. Phoebe, Priscilla, several other women of Rom 16, Huldah, Deborah, the Samaritan woman at the well…. Women were God-approved leaders in the Bible, despite a culture that disapproved of them. To hold the complementarian position is to have to argue those women away.

      Posted by godsdesignperth | November 16, 2015, 6:30 PM
      • Yes, that theory would work IF Paul did not explicitly say they can’t be in other writings. You have to look at the whole Bible and not fall into atomization.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 7:43 AM
      • David, it seems then that you think Paul would forbid something, and yet approve of the women who did the very thing he forbade! 1 Tim 2 is a notoriously difficult passage to interpret. One of the major problems here is that authentein (translated to have or usurp authority) is a rare word, used nowhere else in the Bible. However, studies into its use in Greek literature don’t appear to support this meaning. It has a wide range of meanings, but in most instances, seems to relate to violence (particularly with a cultic or sexual element). Given the cultural context of Ephesus, which was dominated by the Artemis cult (where the only way for a man to be a religious leader was for him to be castrated), it’s possible that he is forbidding a woman (Paul switches to the singular in this verse) or women from teaching that this kind of ritual violence is necessary for male leaders in the church. That’s one of a number of possibilities. There are many, many reasons why this passage is unclear. A doctrine should never be made from one unclear passage (as the Mormons have done with that odd phrase about “baptism of the dead”), but those passages which are clear should be given priority and used as an interpretive lens for the unclear passages – basic hermeneutics. Egalitarians do take the Bible as a whole, while complementarians rely on a narrow few verses (usually badly misunderstood at that).

        Posted by godsdesignperth | November 17, 2015, 6:07 PM
      • Paul approving of women doing the thing he forbade? The only instance of that is if you choose to twist Junia’s role. Nowhere else is there anything close. Paul says time after time that women are not to be over men and not to have teaching positions in the church. Not just in 1 Tim 2 either.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 8:04 PM
      • Even if you grant that the word apostle refers to him/her (it is debated which is which) there is no indication it is more than a missionary. They are definitely not in a place of authority.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 7:58 AM
      • No, it’s not seriously debated if Junia is a woman. Everyone believed she was a woman until a monk made a copying error (deliberate? Accidental?) in about the 13th C. That error was gradually repeated in various places (eg. In Luther’s Bible but not in the KJV). Is it merely coincidence that Junia is finally replaced by Junias in the Greek manuscripts in around 1923, with the impact feminism was having at the time? A lot of scholarship has been done since then. More recent versions of the Greek have changed back to Junia. No serious scholars believe in the mythical Junias anymore.

        Can you give me examples of instances where you insist that a male apostolos is “just a missionary” and explain why you make that choice of translation in that instance?

        Posted by godsdesignperth | November 17, 2015, 6:37 PM
      • Check out the word apostolos in Louw Nida. That being said, you have to compare Scripture with Scripture and Paul makes clear that women are not to hold leadership positions in a church.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 8:03 PM
      • By the way, even the church fathers said that women should not teach. Do you ever reference the church fathers?

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 8:05 PM
  3. I take issue with David’s comment that to believe in the shared authority of men and women in the church is heresy. For centuries many Christian groups have held egalitarian beliefs – a recent list from Gordon-Conwell Seminary shows that about 50% of Protestant denominations are egalitarian and 50% complementarian.

    It seems to me that complementarians today (most notably the Southern Baptist Convention) are trying to redefine “evangelical” so that it excludes those supportive of women in ministry leadership. I thinks it’s important to recognize that they speak only for their own brand of evangelicalism and seem to have a limited understanding of church history. http://www.gordonconwell.edu/mentored-ministry/documents/DENOMINATIONALCHART2011-2012.pdf

    Posted by Gail | November 16, 2015, 2:11 PM
    • This is a bit dishonest Gail. Lmited understanding of church history? What I find interesting with your chart is that it is only newer denominations that have adopted egalitarian positions. Please show me in church history where we see this as the accepted doctrine of normality. Not something from 2011-2012 but something from actual church history, not modern era.

      Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 11:11 AM
  4. First of all, Complementarianism does restrict the spread of the Gospel because by their own admission they “limit the ministry of women”. You can’t limit someone’s ministry opportunities and not restrict the Gospel at the same time.

    Second, a reasonable definition of heresy can only include departure from an essential belief of Christianity. We can differ on beliefs that are not essential to the faith, and it is NOT heresy. Therefore I cannot call a hierarchical complementarian a heretic simply on the besis that he interprets the Bible in a flawed manner. He definitely wrong, but taht does not make him a heretic.

    Posted by Greg Hahn | November 16, 2015, 2:26 PM
    • That is utterly false. The spread of the Gospel is not determined by who does what. There are many roles within the body and God told us which people can have which types of roles. He would not limit the spread, and He also has restrictions clearly defined in Scripture.

      We will have to agree to disagree on what constitutes heresy.

      Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 11:09 AM
      • It’s not false, David. Jesus said to pray to the Lord of the harvest that he send out workers into His harvest. Complementarianism says they believe they should “limit the ministry of women”. There are open ministry opportunities and willing female workers, yet Complementarians say, “No— not you.” The Southern Bapstist Convention pulled missionaries off the mission field over this very subject.

        Posted by Greg Hahn | November 17, 2015, 11:41 AM
      • They do not limit the ministry of women within the framework God has setup.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 5:59 PM
      • What you’re saying there is they don’t limit the ministry of women except when they do.

        Posted by Greg Hahn | November 17, 2015, 11:17 PM
      • I said it doesn’t limit the spread of the Gospel, nor does it limit the ministry within the parameters setup by God.

        So yes, God does limit the role of women.

        Posted by David | November 18, 2015, 7:45 AM
      • Of course, the spread of the gospel is limited by who does what. If someone, for example, does the “silence in church” thing, she is not as good as spreading the gospel as the one who does the “preach” thing.

        Many missionaries went out as singles – if they are limited to a “role” some things will be left undone.

        David – speaking of many roles, can you tell me the woman’s role in church, in spreading the gospel? Back it up with a text. (NOT the married woman’s role in the home – the “role” women – married and single – have at church.)

        Posted by Retha | November 17, 2015, 1:18 PM
      • First off, we are talking about within the church. Within the church is not the place for the spread of the Gospel. That is outside of the church.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2015, 6:00 PM

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