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Devotionals    H3'ed 4/25/22

Ignoring the Theology of Divine Inspiration to Allow Women Pastors - Let's Blame Paul!

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"As we dig deeper, we learn that of these 40 authors, only one author prohibited women in ministry, and that is Paul. If we go deeper, we find that he wrote nine letters to churches and only restricted women in three churches. If we take a deep breath and explore deeper, we discover that these three churches were all in areas that worshipped major female deities and that cultural beliefs were becoming mixed in with the church's doctrine. Finally, with another breath, we discover that Paul also empowered women and recognized them as leaders." - Ruth Hendrickson

Here are three very common arguments for women preaching and the first is blaming Paul. What is painfully ironic is that Hendrickson just made the point that all scripture is written under divine inspiration, meaning God wrote the words, not the author. One cannot make the argument that God writes all scripture and in the next breath say that only Paul denied women in authoritative leadership. It was not Paul - it was God! The second common argument here is that Paul was only writing to the specific churches in question because only they had these issues with women. This is simply not the way that we interpret scripture. Yes, cultural concerns are important for context but culture does not actually change what God has written. Let me show you in other verses:

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. - 2Thessalonians 3:13 (ESV)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

These instructions came from the Apostle Paul to three different churches. In the context of the letter itself, surely there was something cultural at that specific church that prompted Paul to write it. Perhaps the Thessalonians were growing weary of doing good. Perhaps the Ephesians had the tendency to let corrupting talk come from their mouths and the Philippians dealt with anxiety issues. Does that mean these verses ONLY apply to these churches? Of course not. That is the point of the key verses today. All scripture comes from God and is useful. The third common argument Hendrickson presents here is that Paul recognized other female leaders, which he most certainly did! What he never did however is promote any to pastoral or preaching positions with authority over men. No matter how much you want to muddy the waters or change the subject, we come back to the clear directive scriptures. I do not permit.

"Amid this heated debate, what do we do with Galatians 3:26-28? Within this very passage of Scripture, Paul takes away ethnic arguments as he states there is neither Jew nor Greek. He also strips away socioeconomic class arguments, stating that the positions of free versus slave do not exist in the kingdom of God. In addition, he adds that there is neither male nor female, which should bring peace to our argument about women in ministry. - Ruth Hendrickson

What do we do with this scripture? We interpret it in context. Paul is making the argument here about what things are like in the kingdom of God, not within the church. It is a talk about salvation. There are no classes or castes when determining who gets saved, praise God! Ironically, the actual context of the letter is speaking against the Judaizers, who had infiltrated the Galatian church and was attaching circumcision to the conditions for salvation. That is what this is actually speaking against. We do not need Christ and circumcision. We just need Christ. There is no Jew or Greek when it comes to salvation. There is not man or woman. Nowhere does this scripture say to go and destroy all gender norms. It certainly does not contradict the clear and directive scriptures previously discussed.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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