Saturday, January 7, 2012

Are women really supposed to "remain quiet"?

From time to time, I get these real "hot button" questions.

First of all, I'm not a male chauvinist pig (usually), and I don't have some kind of deep seeded "male dominance" issue. You see, God makes things clear to us, all throughout the Bible, by using models or types. For example, one model, would be the relationship between the Church and Christ as a model for marriage. An example of a type, would be Adam. Jesus is referred to as "the last Adam" in order to show that the Adam from the Garden of Eden was the first man and Jesus Christ was the first life giving spirit.

There are many types and models in the Bible, but more importantly, God sets the stage for an "order of things". Failure to understand this, comprehend this and even practice this in your lives will present you with nothing but trouble in your relationships with the opposite sex.

Question: This question is not to put anyone down, negate the fact of ones human importance and abilities to teach, instruct and contribute, but need to know why this was written.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 - Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

As I understand it, weren't Phoebe and Junia deacons at the church in Cenchrea? How quiet could they have been, being deacons?

Please help me with this..what is the true meaning?

Answer: Whilst I can not claim to be an expert on either Phoebe nor Junia, I can say this with certainty:

a. The only place where Phoebe is named is Romans 16:1. Nowhere does it say that she was a "Deacon" or that she held any other authoritative title. She is called a "servant" and who here among us wouldn't gladly refer to themselves as a servant, realizing that we are in Christ? To apply a title to her would be a made up and make believe story that has no other purpose than to mislead and confuse weaker Christians who will not do their own homework. Diakonos (the Greek word being used there) simply means: a person who runs errands, a waiter, someone who does menial duties. That's a far cry from what we commonly refer to as someone with a title within the Church. Is an "executive assistant" an "executive", or an "assistant to the executive"? It's all about being able to "read" and understand. It's all about reading vs. "discernment". I expect to be disagreed with on this.

b. Junia is one of those people that has "Biblical Scholars" arguing across the isles. While I do not have 100% clarity on whether or not Junia is male or female, Paul referred to him/her as, "my countrymen and my fellow prisoners". It's not sensible to assume that Junia (being a woman) would have been Paul's "fellow prisoner". And regardless as to whether or not he/she is male/female, again, the only mention of Junia is in Romans 16:7 and is described as, "of note among the apostles". Again, no church title is given here.

The Bible makes it clear, that women should not be in authority positions over men, but not to the point of excluding them from service as"ministers". I believe that it's the right thing to do, to have women in authority positions over other women and even over children! But to say women don't have any place in leadership, that's just wrong and certainly not Biblical.

God makes it abundantly clear from the first page of the Bible, that there's an "order to things".

From top to bottom:
  • God
  • man
  • woman
  • children
  • everything else
To change that order, because someone feels slighted, because someone's pride is more important, is wrong. We don't have the luxury of changing God's Word to suit the "need of the day". If you're a woman and you believe that God has called you to be "the head" of the man, then you've created a god to suit your own needs. I believe that's a violation of the 1st AND 2nd commandments.

For those of you who would call out Deborah from the book of Judges, I will say this... She was 1 of 12 Judges throughout all of Israel's history. O-N-E. She should not be looked upon as some kind of "feminist hero" that shows that there is no difference between a man and a woman. Yes, God chose her to be a leader, and yes, that shows that God values women. But to say that men and women are the same, would be the undoing of everything in Scripture. Of course that isn't to say that God sees men and women differently in the sense of His Redemptive Plan, because He doesn't. God does not discriminate against age, race or gender - EVER. Deborah was not a "model" of anything, she was just a Judge for a short period of time during Israel's vast history. She did not hold any position of "Spiritual Authority" over a man, and that's the true defining of this small passage from 1 Timothy.

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