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Devotionals    H3'ed 2/9/18

Christo-Feminism War on Scriptural Truth Continues - J. Lee Grady Edition

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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. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. -- 1Timothy 2: 11-14 (ESV)

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Apparently one of the hottest topics in modern churchianity is the role that God has set out for women in His church. Lest we forget beloved -- it is His church. He gets to decide how He wants it organized no matter how much it offends our delicate sensibilities and desire for political correctness. It had long been accepted doctrine that the key verses spell out unambiguously that women cannot teach, preach, nor hold authority over men. God even gives us His reasoning for it by saying it was Adam who was formed first and Eve who was deceived and thus the transgressor. A hundred years ago, no one gave this a second look or had any reason to doubt. Two things have happened over the past hundred years however. There has been the equal rights movement in secular society and the church's rapid immersion into the secular world. The result has been sadly predictable as even solid teachers have made allowances for ignoring these biblical truths. I understand why! I too know many great women of God who are faithful teachers and many who could preach the paint off the walls. That does not matter at the end of the day beloved. Only what God has said should matter. Do not lose sight that what we have in the key verses are clear instructions from God, through the Apostle Paul. This is contained in a pastoral letter where he is preparing Timothy for pastorship. Paul is specifically speaking about church order. This cannot be clearer. In order to oppose it, people must find examples in the 6000 years history of women doing great things and go aha! You see! Except there is only one example of a woman in the 6000 + years of biblical history leading men and that was Deborah. That is why it saddened me to see J. Lee Grady come out on the politically correct side of this argument. Granted his involvement with Charisma News troubles me greatly but I have enjoyed much of Grady's contributions over the years. He ought to know better. His article is in response to John piper's recent comments affirming Scripture in these matters. Let us reason together through Grady's logic:

"Anyone who knows Piper's background would not have been shocked that he said this. He's a strict complementarian, meaning that he believes only men can teach and lead in the church and that women must follow them supportively. Most Calvinists, by definition, share this view. In the world of Reformed Christianity, women have agreed to take a back seat.I certainly support Piper's right to hold what he views as a faithful interpretation of Scripture. But because he is injecting his opinions into the mainstream, I can't sit back and ignore the controversy when I've dedicated my life to empowering and supporting my Christian sisters who are in ministry. Piper's words not only insulted women; I believe his message grieved the Holy Spirit and could seriously hinder today's church from advancing the gospel." -- J. Lee Grady
By no stretch am I defending Calvinism but this seems to miss the point greatly. The point is not what Calvin says but what God has said. The second point here is the slur that accepting what God says is akin to "women taking the back seat." What utter nonsense. There are stories of great and mighty women of God in the Bible that hardly took the back seat yet managed to obey the Word. That is all we are talking about. If reading the Word of God in context insults you then the problem lies with you, not God. And Mr. Grady, please do not speak for the Holy Spirit if you are refusing to stand on His Word. It does not grieve the Holy Spirit to correctly divide the Word. If you wish to truly support your sisters in ministry you would help them adhere and obey what God has laid out. Lastly here, the vast majority of the church no longer preaches the Gospel. The notion that obeying God would hinder the advance of the Gospel does not make any logical or biblical sense. Grady continues:

"As a Pentecostal who believes the Holy Spirit's gifts are given to all people--regardless of race, class, age or gender (see Acts 2:17-18)--I believe the current discussion about Piper's podcast provides the perfect platform for a refresher course on the scriptural basis for women as teachers, preachers and leaders.

The Old Testament upholds the value of women as teachers.Proverbs tells us that, in a family, wisdom comes from both father and mother. "My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother" (Prov. 1:8). But a mother's teaching and godly influence are not restricted to the home. In Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified as a woman preaching in the streets!

We have several examples of women who held leadership positions in Israel, including Miriam and Deborah. And we also see that when Israel was backslidden, and the book of the Law had been forgotten, King Josiah sent his representatives to find a "prophetess" named Huldah (see 2 Kings 22:14) who delivered the word of the Lord. At a time when even the priests had fallen away from God, this faithful woman continued to teach the truth, and she did not hold back from speaking it." -- J. Lee Grady

We see here the usually blurring of the lines. When the Bible is not on your side it is best to cast out strawman arguments. No one is arguing that women do not receive all of the gifts of the Spirit, just like men. What is at issue here is using the gifts in a position of authority over men. The Proverbs 1 example is embarrassing for someone as versed as Grady. No one is suggesting that a mother cannot teach her child. The usage of Proverbs 8 is interesting in that I had never heard anyone make this connection. So in one hand we have a pastoral letter explaining church order with clear instructions regarding women not being allowed to exercise authority over men. In the other we have a proverb, which is never supposed to create whole doctrine, that uses a figure of speech that is never meant to be taken literally. There is simply no coherent biblical argument here to contraindicate the key verses. Miriam held no such leadership position. In fact, at one point she grumbles about the fact that the Lord chose Moses to lead and God strikes her with leprosy which is only relieved through the intercession of Moses on her behalf. She also was denied access to the Promised Land due to her siding with the 10 spies of the bad report. She held an important role in the life of Moses but it was Moses who was the leader. Huldah was indeed a prophetess as was Miriam. No one is suggesting women cannot be prophetesses. Do you know why? Because the prophet does not operate under their own authority but under the authority of God. Grady tries to get clever here and switches prophesying to teaching in mid conversation. Huldah did not teach the men of Israel. She prophesied what sayeth the Lord. That leaves Deborah and it is true that she was a leader over men as her time as Judge of Israel. She should not be minimized in any way. When no man was willing to stand up she was and she should be recognized and applauded for that. This represents one time in over 6000 years though. It is not normative. It is the purest definition of an outlier. You cannot dismiss clear instructive scriptures in favor of one event in 6000 years and change doctrinally what God has made clear. It hermeneutically negligent to mangle Scripture in such a fashion. Grady continues:

"Jesus gave women their voice back.Jesus ministered at a time when women had no rights. Yet He elevated women to a position of dignity, and He especially reached those who suffered as social outcasts and abuse victims. Jesus also gathered a group of women and discipled them at a time when Jewish rabbis believed it was wrong to teach women from the Torah. He even sent the Samaritan woman to preach to all the men of her village. And in the end, Jesus chose one of His women followers, Mary Magdalene, to be the first to proclaim that He had been raised from the dead. I believe He did this to demonstrate that the shame-based restrictions placed on women since the Garden of Eden have now ended. The gospel liberates women from second-class status. And it surely empowers women to speak for God." -- J. Lee Grady

This is playing mighty fast and loose with the facts of what we actually know. It is true that Jesus reached out to all, especially the marginalized but that doesn't change what the godly order of things are. It is true that a group of women followed Jesus but to claim He gathered them to disciple them is ludicrous. He had his disciples and they were all male. Next I want you to read the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 and find where Jesus "sent her" to preach to all the men of her village. Can't find it? That is because it is not there. It is true that she testified about this man she met at the well who knew everything about her life and she even asked could this be the Messiah but Jesus did not send her to teach the men. This is what always happens when someone tries to upend the clear teaching found in the key verses. They are reduced to making huge leaps in logic, reading things into the text that are simply not there, or even stretching the truth to fit their narrative. Likewise the claim of Jesus choosing Mary Magdalene to be the first to proclaim the risen Christ is simply not supported in the text. Yes she was the first but there is no indication this was anything more than the fact that the women were heading to anoint the body for burial. Even if we grant this huge leap it does not change the key verses as this has nothing to do with women teaching and having authority over men. It does reinforce that women play a key role in the kingdom and hallelujah to that! The most duplicitous statement from Grady however is that Jesus purposefully chose Mary to demonstrate that shame based restrictions on women were now ended. Absolute rubbish. The text does not even indicate that He chose this and even if we grant that this conclusion is simply carnal in nature and completely devoid from the Scriptural account. J. Lee Grady should be ashamed of himself. The Gospel liberated women and men from the slavery to sin, not some perceived gender based slight. Don't ever cheapen it.

"We have New Testament examples of women teachers.I'm not sure how John Piper would explain the ministry of Priscilla, since we see her in the book of Acts instructing the young apostle named Apollos (see Acts 18:24-28). Priscilla is the grandmother of all women seminary teachers. She and her husband, Aquilla, traveled with the apostle Paul and helped lay the spiritual foundations of the early church. To ignore Priscilla's ministry is to dishonor a true mother of the faith. Piper believes only men can teach men, especially men who are called to be pastors. But by maintaining this position he discounts the ministry of biblical woman such as Euodia, Syntyche, Chloe, Nympha, Junia and Phoebe, all who worked alongside Paul. Calvinist teachers claim to be strict enforcers of the Scriptures, but they actually display a cavalier attitude toward the Bible when they minimize the influence of the female heroes of the early church." -- J. Lee Grady

Priscilla has become the poster child for Christo-feminism. It is true that one time she and her husband pulled Apollos to the side to give him more in depth knowledge. The text does not say Priscilla led this, facilitated it, or anything other than what I just stated. So I say do not ignore Priscilla's ministry but do not lionize it into something it never was. Paul trusted her. She was very active in the kingdom of God alongside her husband. But Christo-feminists are not happy with that so they take one verse that says THEY took Apollos aside and suddenly Priscilla is the grandmother of all women seminary teachers? Not according to the Bible she isn't. Next Grady says that by affirming the key verses we must somehow discount the ministry of several women. Let's see if this hold up. Euodia and Syntyche are mentioned in Philippians 4 as "co-laborers." That's it. So what can we responsibly glean from their mention here? That they were co-laborers. No one is suggesting women cannot co-labor in the kingdom. Chloe? She is mentioned in one verse regarding people in her household. That's it. I am not sure that even counts as a "ministry." Nymphas is masculine in most translations. Same problem with Junias, who is directly referred to in the text as a "kinsman." Phoebe is listed as a helper, that's it. Beloved no matter how hard J. Lee Grady tries he cannot find more than one person in 6000 years to support his argument. That is simply not enough to ignore clear directive Scripture. He concludes:

"We cannot use Paul's words as a universal ban on women teachers.Piper and other complementarians base all their opposition to women teachers on 1 Timothy 2:12, where Paul says he does not allow women to "usurp" a man's authority. Yet Paul also allowed Priscilla to teach, sent Phoebe as a deacon to Rome (see Romans 16:1-2), and defended the right of Euodia and Syntyche to do ministry work (see Phil. 4:2-4). So obviously what Paul told Timothy was not a universal, all-inclusive directive; he was addressing a specific heresy in the Ephesian church that required swift discipline. To all my sisters I say: Don't be discouraged. If you sense the call of God, and you know the fire of the Holy Spirit is burning in your heart, don't let the narrow views of some Christians stop you from pursuing your dream. Men may seek to limit and restrict you, but God has the last word. He declared on the day of Pentecost: "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17b)." -- J. Lee Grady

Ahh"it must have been Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick! Seriously, I have seen this tortured logic before. Ignore what God has clearly said in Scripture and instead let's guess what Paul really meant. Except the notion of divine authorship destroys that doesn't it? If we believe that God wrote the Bible divinely, it doesn't matter what is going on in Paul's head. Not to mention again the mischaracterizations Grady resorts to. First of all, it is not just the key verses. 1Corinthians 14: 33-35 confirms the key verses. As does the remaining canon of Scripture. Paul did not allow Priscilla to teach! One time in Scripture she and her husband gave deeper insight to Apollos and suddenly Priscilla is teacher of the year? Stop it. Perhaps the worst argument hermeneutically is the deaconess argument for Phoebe. At the time Paul wrote this the word "diakonos" meant servant. Phoebe was a servant. It is true that hundreds of years later this same word ends up where the church gets their word for "deacon." At the time of the writing however the word deacon did not exist. Paul was saying she was a helper. Euodia and Syntyche were co-laborers. Are we starting to see the picture? The scriptural gymnastics J. Lee Grady must go through to try and prove his point disproves it.

To all my sisters I say this. Do not be discouraged. The women listed here were all used mightily by God and they did so willingly, happily and in line with all Scripture teaches us. If you feel the Holy Spirit burning inside of you to serve God then you serve Him! Do not let the political agendas of some people turn your dreams and desires into disobedience and apathy to the Word of God. Do not view your role how the world views things but rather how God does and you will hear well done my good and faithful servant. To J. Lee Grady I say this. You are better than this. Get out of the cesspool that is Charisma News and get back to rightly handling God's Word. The time is short. The hour draws near.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- February 8, 2018

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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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