Next Wright claims that Phoebe must be an example of a woman with a certain level of authority because Paul assigned her the task of delivering the letter to the Roman churches. I agree she was given the authority to deliver the letter because the text reveals that. The text however reveals nothing further, other than Phoebe being a servant. Now, being assigned this task does show that Paul trusted this woman implicitly, no argument there but it does not mean we toss out clear and directive scriptures spoken by the same exact source! In order to make their case, people like RT Wright are forced to leave the surety of scripture for the whims of their imaginations.
'"Here's the crunch: The first woman mentioned in Romans 16 is the bearer of the letter to Rome," Wright says. "Now if you're Paul and you know in your bones you have just written a letter which is the most explosive piece of theological writing you can imagine, who are you going to give it to to take it to be read under Caesar's nose in Rome? Well, presumably some strong man. No, a deacon woman from the church of Cenchreae. We assume she's an independent businesswoman--Phoebe--and she's on the way to Rome and what we know about the way letters worked in the ancient world was if you sent a letter via a friend or somebody, the chances are--you can't prove this--the chances are they will be the one to read it out. They might well be the one to explain it to people who, I mean, faced with Romans, would have a thousand questions. I'd have a thousand questions: 'Phoebe tell us...' So the probability is that the first person to expound Paul's letter to the Romans was a woman, a deacon from the church in Cenchreae, and I want to say, 'Get used to it, guys. This is explosive, but it's the sort of thing that happens when new creation is going forward.'"' -- Charisma News
This entire paragraph is assumption and conjecture. Wright does not know what Paul felt in his bones. Considering Caesar, it would make no difference if the deliverer was "some strong man." Why assume she is an independent businesswoman? There are only two verses in the entire bible that mention Phoebe and Wright already has a Curricula Vitae drawn up. She was a helper in the church and Paul trusted her. That is all we can glean from these two verses without venturing into our imaginations. The notion that she was a deaconess is linguistically ridiculous. You see the word for servant at the time Paul wrote this letter was Diakonos. Now it is true that the church would take this word and create the position of deacon and deaconess but that would not happen for another thousand years. So the notion that a thousand years before the term ever meant deacon, Phoebe was a deaconess is just simply wrong. So I am used to it Mr. Wright. I am so used to these arguments because everyone from Eddie Hyatt to J. Lee Gardy have tried the same tired old defenses that hold no biblical water whatsoever. All to avoid the clear and directive scriptures found in the key verses today. The letter was to the church in Rome, not to the Romans themselves and the notion that Phoebe would have to undergo questioning for simply delivering the letter is equally unfounded. These are all speculations unsupported by actual scripture.
'Wright says that because Paul and the early church allowed women to preach and lead congregations, it doesn't make sense for churches today to prevent women from assuming leadership roles. "To row back from there and to say, 'Well, Paul didn't really mean that,' I then want to say, What are the forces in our culture today--particularly I have to say in America--which are forcing some churches and some people to fasten on one or two verses from elsewhere to say 'Oh, no, no, we can't have women doing this, that and the other'?" Wright says. "Because that's a highly, highly selective reading of the Scripture, and as with all other theological answers, the best place to start is with the resurrection of Jesus and then everything that flows out from there."' -- Charisma News
This is also a clever technique Christo-feminists use. They present unsupported arguments and then write as if their conclusions are now accepted fact when they most certainly are not. Paul and the early church did not allow women to preach and lead congregations and do you know how I know this for fact? Because the key verses tell me so! Without any ambiguity. Without having to read things into the text! Without having the change people's genders and assume all sorts of things that are simply not mentioned in the actual texts. The notion that simply reading the key verses means I am being "highly selective" is ludicrous. In order for Wright to be able to make a single point in support of his position, he must leave the surety of scripture for the vanity of his imagination. Mercifully, the article concludes:
"Wright says in the Easter story, women are the first people to hear the news of Jesus' resurrection and bring that news to others. Wright says this both makes women the first carriers of the gospel message and also makes the gospel accounts more historically believable (as no one would have made up such an account at the time). Watch Wright's full interview here." -- Charisma News
I chose to not review the entire video because I can tell the arguments are the same as has already been debunked, like this yarn about Easter. Yes the women were the first ones to go to the tomb that morning but the bible tells us why! It was to prepare the body for burial. This does not make them the "first evangelists" as I have heard argued. It also does not make them the first "carriers of the Gospel." These are leaps in illogic based on a desire to prove an unbiblical tenet. In fact, it ignores the actual story told in two of the four Gospel accounts:
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back--it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. -- Mark 16:1-8 (ESV)