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: 12-14 (ESV)
Whenever I write about the gender roles that God has ordained I try to do so biblically and delicately. I do so delicately because I know many godly women who love the Lord and genuinely want to only serve Him. The suggestion that they may be overstepping the Lord is not one I make lightly or with joy. But biblically must be how we examine every situation; even the ones we may not like or agree with. Beloved, God has an order to the way He designed things. That order has man as the headship. He created man first. He created woman from man, as a suitable helper. This is not because societies were male dominated when the Bible was written. To make that argument is to make the same argument that liberal Christian denominations make for cultural bias. That the culture at the time Scripture was written has now changed and therefore Scripture must change. Nonsense. The Bible transcends all time and all cultures.
So in order to justify women in pastoral and leadership roles within the church their proponents scour the Bible to find any examples of prominent females in ministry and then read into the text what is simply not there. At the end of the day they are left with one example in 6000 years of God allowing a female in leadership over men and that was Deborah. This was not a joyous time in the kingdom beloved. That there were no men willing to lead. Nevertheless, Deborah deserves the recognition and respect for leading and following God. What we cannot do is take this one instance in 6000 years and think we have uncovered a prescriptive story about how things ought to be today. The reality is that the world has changed. Where women had their primary role in the home just 60 years ago, today we see women leading across the world. Not coincidentally, we see the demise of the family unit across this country. We cannot step out of the design of God and expect that there will not be consequences. Beloved, please understand this is not about dominance but rather it is about order. Eve was to be Adam's helper, not his servant. Women can serve in nearly any role a man can within the church. They can exhibit the same gifts of the Holy Spirit as man. They can have a word of knowledge. They can speak in a foreign tongue. They can prophesy. What they are not permitted to do is teach (preach) or to exercise authority over men. No matter how much people try to twist the Bible to suit their own agendas they cannot escape the key verses today on this subject. They are incontrovertible.
These key verses come from the Apostle Paul to his young prote'ge' Timothy, who was going to pastor the Church at Ephesus. These instructions are not vague. They are crystal clear. Women are not permitted to teach, which includes preaching, or exercise authority over men within the church structure. God even provides the reason why! Because it was Eve who was deceived! Now, this does not make women less. This makes their role different. Many Christo-feminist advocates will then point to the portion that says she is to remain silent and exclaim; that can't be true! I think that being hyperbolic is not helpful. All Paul is doing here is reinforcing the point. In matters of teaching and authority, women are to be silent in the church. It is a reiteration of the point, not some catch all doctrine that can be used to portray Paul as somehow being misogynistic. Let us also not lose sight of the fact that we all believe that every word in the Bible is God breathed -- written by the Lord Himself. Be careful with how you are criticizing Paul because you are also criticizing God. I say this as the backdrop to a new story on Charisma News, which clearly advocates for women in leadership over men. Author Eddie Hyatt wrote this latest affront to the Bible and it can be found at this link:
Did Paul have a woman as his pastor is the attention grabbing headline. I know the answer! No. He absolutely did not have a woman as a pastor. If he did, that would not only violate the key verses which he wrote himself, but it would thus violate the Word of God as well. Let us reason together beloved as we review this article to see how badly Eddie Hyatt mangles the Bible to proof text the conclusion he already has come to.
Phoebe was a woman leader for whom Paul had great respect as is borne out in the language he used to describe her. The power of his words is lost in our English translations but is very obvious in the Greek (Rom. 16:1-2). In fact, an argument could be made from Paul's own words that Phoebe had once functioned in a pastoral-type role toward him. -- Eddie Hyatt
No Eddie. No such argument can be made based on the text. Note what Hyatt does though. First he establishes a general fact that has nothing to do with the allegation he then makes about being a pastor. Was Phoebe respected by Paul? Absolutely it is fair to draw that conclusion. Does the fact that Paul respected her mean that she was his pastor? Of course not. Secondarily however, Hyatt plays the "we don't really know" card. The power of the words of Paul have not been lost in translation beloved. God is not some powerless entity that cannot properly ensure that the limitations of our languages, which He created, somehow limit His Word. Let us proceed however with the argument from Eddie Hyatt:
Phoebe Was a Minister.In Romans 16:1, Paul refers to Phoebe as, "A servant of the church in Cenchreae." The English word "servant" in this passage is misleading. It is from the Greek word diakonos and should be translated as "minister." Indeed, diakonos is translated as "minister" in 23 places where it is used of men, including Paul, Barnabas and Apollos (1 Cor. 3:4). In this one place where it is used of a woman, these same translators chose to use the word "servant," a clear example of their bias (Hyatt, Paul, Women and Church, 26). Diakonos does literally means "servant" but became a word for Christian leaders as a result of Jesus using it in response to the request by James and John for special seats of power in His kingdom. Jesus replied that whoever wanted to be great must become a diakonos, that is, a "servant." -- Eddie Hyatt
Now Hyatt introduces some Greek but does not seem to truly grasp the argument. The word diakonos means servant. I assume he means 1Corinthians 3:5, not verse four but even verse 5 uses the word servant, not minister. It is true as the church developed diakonos became the root for the word deacon but that would be after Paul writes this letter. So what we need to look at is what were Paul, and God, saying at the time he wrote the letter. This point is so clear that the translators of the ESV actually use the word servant. She was not a leader of the church in Cenchreae beloved. To say so is to read beyond the text. Hyatt references 23 other times that this word was used differently and claims gender bias? He forgets however that God is omnipotent. In the world of Eddie Hyatt God cannot control translators to ensure His Word is represented the way He intends. Instead we must seek some gnosis, or hidden secrets within the text. Oh those pesky translators undermining God's true design of women pastors! The argument is ludicrous. Don't take my word for it beloved. Let's take the Apostle Paul's word, as clearly displayed earlier in this exact same letter:
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. -- Romans 13: 3-4 (ESV)
Let's see. This is speaking about people in governmental authority, as in rulers. Using Eddie Hyatt's assertion this would read: "for he is God's minister for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the minister of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." Well, that doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever. No it is clear that Phoebe was not a minister nor a leader at the church at Cenchreae. She was however a helper that was deeply respected by Paul. Hyatt continues:
From that declaration of Jesus, diakonos became a common designation for Christian ministers, highlighting the servant character of Christian leadership. The well-known evangelical theologian, E. Earle Ellis, wrote: Diakonos is used frequently in the Pauline letters for those who exercise ministries of teaching and preaching. The title is given to Paul and to a number of his associates who are active on a continuing basis as traveling missionaries or as coworkers in local congregations. In terms of modern function, it best corresponds to the modern designation "minister" (Hyatt, Paul, Women and Church, 27). -- Eddie Hyatt
This was a clever sleight of hand by Hyatt but obvious when you really examine it. So he would have us believe that from the moment Jesus utters the word in response to the mother of the sons of Zebedee that the term diakonos forever changed to mean minister so therefore when Paul wrote Romans he was calling Phoebe a minister, not a servant. Except that is not how language works Eddie. It is true that the church, which would not be formed for hundreds of years, would adopt the term deacon as an elder based upon the previous usage of helper. This makes sense from the teaching of Jesus Hyatt references. If you want to lead in his church you must be a servant. There are two things Eddie Hyatt cannot escape however. First of all, the core definition never changes. Diakonos means helper or servant. Secondly, even if eventually this word would be used by later generations as a term for minister, elder or deacon, it is clearly not what Paul meant when he wrote this just 20 or so years after Christ walked the earth. Hyatt continues:
Phoebe Was a Woman "Set Over" Others - Paul also said that Phoebe had been a prostatis to many, and of myself also. The KJV and NKJV translate the word as "helper," but Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon says that prostatis refers to "a woman set over others" and that it describes Phoebe as a "guardian, protector and benefactor." Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says that prostatis is a word of "dignity" and indicates the high esteem with which she was regarded. These definitions are correct for prostatis is made up of the prefix pro, meaning "before," and "istemi," meaning "to stand." It, therefore, literally means "to stand before" and identifies Phoebe as a leader with the qualities one would expect in a modern-day pastor (Hyatt, Paul, Women and Church, 28). -- Eddie Hyatt