An interesting exchange today led to a pastor with 40 years experience refusing to accept any counsel that he just might be mistaken...
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)
Here we go again. More biblical illiteracy to ignore what are clear and directive scriptures found in the key verses today. Today someone directed me to a Facebook post from an Assemblies of God pastor who posted the above link and called those he tried to speak with about women in ministry in(duh)viduals. That should have tipped me off but I tried to engage after he cited that AG had always allowed women in leadership. I asked if he had reviewed the AG position paper and while he said he did, he clearly did not. I posted the devotional I had done a long time ago debunking their arguments as being extra biblical and inaccurate. After it was apparent that I had destroyed his argument, he promptly deleted all of my posts and posted the following rant:
"I am going to make a brief statement here. I am no novice in ministry. I have been a credentialed AG minister for almost 40 years. Although I am certainly not a theological giant or genius, I am far from unskilled. That being said, I am always open to discussion and depending on what the discussion is about, it may be held in private rather than in public. However, I have ZERO tolerance for ANYONE - especially those I do not know at all - coming on my ministry page and posting derogatory and inflammatory words about me, my ministry, or my fellowship, the Assemblies of God."
The amount of time in ministry is only impressive if you remain teachable. Once you post something so scripturally wrong in public the only remedy to answer must be in public. Forty years and all I asked was if he had read the AG position paper because it was riddled with inaccuracies. That was enough to delete my comments and cause this rant? I posted no inflammatory words about him other than suggesting that he should get back to the bible and stop leading people into disobedience. This is one of the reasons I left the AG. A blind unbiblical loyalty. Is the AG incapable of making mistakes? Are we not supposed to behave as Bereans in all matters? Are we not supposed to test everything? Forty years as a pastor and you think Beth Moore is a solid exegete? Seriously? Let us reason together through the above linked article that this AG pastor defended so vociferously (Note -- James White is the author of the article not the AG pastor).
"I do not personally know Beth Moore. I only know that I intuitively like her from a distance and greatly respect her teaching ministry and love for the Scriptures. She has been in the news of late, largely because of a contingent of Christians who do not believe she should be platformed at churches to teach. Why? Because she is a woman, and that means she would be teaching men." -- James White
Your intuition is not lining up with scripture. Beth Moore is a false teacher, regardless of this debate about women in the pulpit. Go see the write up by CARM on her. Is she as obvious and egregious as a Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer? No, but her teaching on contemplative prayer alone disqualifies her. She has been in the news lately not because of people objecting to her preaching but because of her impetuous need to scream that she should be allowed to.
"This is what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent" (I Timothy 2:11-12). I believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, so I accept that verse to the core of my being as authoritative and true. I also celebrate that half of our upcoming summer teaching team will be women, and that half of our ministerial/pastoral staff are women, including campus directors, Meck Institute teachers and directors, and more. Women also play a prominent role on our board of Trustees. There are two primary views when it comes to women in ministry. The Egalitarian view that wants to see, in one form or another, equality--no distinctions, a level playing field. Then there is the Complementarian view that sees women as equal in God's sight as His children, but with differing roles. My views on the matter please neither side. But I am convinced (not belligerently, but humbly) that it is the biblical perspective, otherwise I wouldn't hold to it." -- James White
I must admit I am intrigued as he is correct that there are usually only two sides to this disunion. I am equally intrigued how he managed to ignore the key verses because you must do that to support women in authority over men.
"Let's return to Paul's admonition to his younger apprentice. There are four important considerations to keep in mind when reading his words:
1. In that day and culture, women had virtually no rights whatsoever. In fact, in the Jewish tradition there was a prayer where men thanked God they were not a slave, a Gentile or a woman. Christianity freed women from these sexist ideas, and taught that women were human beings who were not second-class citizens.
2. Paul clearly did not mean to say that women could not teach in the church because women were involved in teaching, including the teaching of men, throughout the Bible (e.g., Deut. 6:7; Proverbs 1:8; Acts 18:26; II Tim. 1:5; 3:14ff; Titus 2:3-5).
3. Paul also did not intend to say that women couldn't talk or make noise during a worship service, because in another of his letters he talks about what should take place when women pray or speak in public services (see I Cor. 11:5-6).
4. Paul did not want to say that women couldn't lead in the church's services, because he himself recognized the leadership of such women as Phoebe and Priscilla (see Romans 16).
These four things are decisive to understand, because they uphold the important dynamic of letting Scripture help interpret Scripture. In other words, the importance of taking the full context of the canon into account when interpreting the meaning of any one passage, much less verse." -- James White
I am intrigued no more. This is what they always must do to ignore the key verses. Make up cultural arguments that ignore the most fundamental of our beliefs as Christians. The fact that women had no rights in history is irrelevant to what the scripture says! We do not do hermeneutics like this. The ironic point missed by White is that these verses are part of Christianity! The same Christianity that freed women from being second class but still said there is one thing they are not permitted to do! As for his examples of women teaching, let's see what the scriptures actually say:
Deuteronomy 6:7 -- says to teach children the Ten Commandments. No one is saying women cannot teach their own children.
Proverbs 1:8 -- says to teach children, same point
Acts 18:26 -- is when the married couple Aquila and Priscilla corrected the teaching of Apollos. Not in any church setting mind you and not the wife alone. Irrelevant to the point at hand.
2Timothy 1:5 and 3:14 -- the first one speaks about the faith of Lois and Eunice without one mention of teaching with authority over men in the church. The second one is Paul reminding Timothy to always remember what he learned as a child. As pointed out, no one is saying his mother or grandmother could not teach him as part of raising him.
Titus 2:3-5 -- is about teaching individual people sound doctrine. Nothing about the church at all. These are the games people must play to try and ignore the clear and directive scripture in the key verses. The third point here is one often made by Christo-feminists and that is that Paul was only speaking to a particular problem in Corinth. This ignores the fundamental belief that all scripture is God breathed. It is the same reason why the "Paul hated women" faux argument doesn't fly. God wrote the bible, not Paul. The fourth point here is another butchering of the roles women played. Romans 16 says that Phoebe was a servant and Priscilla was a fellow worker. That's it. neither one of them were leaders in the church and the text does not support that. I am all for allowing scripture to interpret scripture but that is not what White is doing here. He is using historical narrative, reading into it what is not there, making assumptions and then using all of it to ignore clear and directive scriptures. Sorry, it does not work that way.
"So what was Paul after? As with much of the Bible, we must sort out what was intended to be "universal," and what was meant to be "cultural" or unique to that particular setting. To say it is all cultural is a disservice to the text, and to say that it is all universal is equally wooden. It's clear that the thrust of Paul's concern was the issue of authority, and that would be the "universal" part of the matter. Since the Bible speaks approvingly of women in other settings being allowed to lead, teach and speak, women being silent or not teaching was clearly a "cultural" aspect unique to the Ephesus situation (where Timothy was serving in leadership at the time). (By the way, if you do not embrace a cultural dynamic to this section of Scripture, along with women never teaching, you will also have to insist that men always lift up their hands when they pray (v. 8), and women must never braid their hair or wear jewelry (v.9).)" -- James White
Once again, not the way proper hermeneutics are done. White's proposed method would leave it up to the individual reader what parts of the bible can literally be dismissed out of hand for cultural reasons. That is dangerous. It is the same way that certain worldly groups dismiss lifestyles of sin. They claim that at the time it was written their lifestyle was shunned but now it is acceptable. God and His word transcends time and cultures. Nowhere in the bible does it speak approvingly of women teaching men with authority. Not one single place.
"But the universal is clear: the Bible teaches that women should not have spiritual authority over a man or relational authority over a man in marriage. God has designed for there to be order implemented in society regarding government, the church and the home. Having order implies submission. To submit simply means to acknowledge or recognize your place within the God-given order of things, and to accept the authority that God has instituted. The word submit is not a call to mindless obedience. It also doesn't have anything to do with who is smarter, better or stronger. It's about leadership. And submitting is very conditional on the leadership being Christ-centered." -- James White
Agreed! How can White not see this is the same exact dynamic in church order? No one is suggesting mindless obedience or who is smarter. It is just God saying that women should not teach or preach with authority over men in His church. He even gives us the reason why! Because Eve was deceived!
"When it comes to order in the family, God says that there needs to be a leader. And not just any leader, but a loving, servant-hearted, caring leader who is charged to have the best interests of the family in mind. In essence, God says to the wife in the family, "I'd like that leader to be your husband. Not because you can't lead, or you are inferior, or because I love you less, but because it needs to be settled. I've made the call, and I'm asking him to lead. And for the sake of the family, I'm asking you to accept it and follow. When it comes to the church, there is order as well, and that order -- that authority -- is to follow the pattern of the home. So when it comes to talking or teaching, it is not to be done by women in such a way that it takes away the leadership role God gave to men." -- James White
Can't we just say this is how God decided and be done with it? Why all the couching that is not supported scripturally? You will see it is to allow these loose definitions to excuse ignoring the key verses.
'Apparently some women in the early church to which Paul wrote were not only going a little loose with how they dressed, but they were also using their newfound freedom and equality through Christ to throw out all parameters and order. This is fleshed out by the word Paul used for the "teaching" he did not want them to embrace. It was not the normal Greek word for "instruction" or "leadership" -- both of which were fine -- but it was a word that meant doing it in way as to "have authority over." Paul wanted them to stop it and, for that culture, that not only meant stopping that kind of teaching, but to be silent in those settings, because that was the way that particular culture understood submission and the acknowledgement of authority and order. For them, to teach or to talk in those settings claimed authority. But that's not what violates authority for us today. So the key for today's Christian in contemporary Western culture doesn't have to do with either teaching or silence, but authority, because that's what is the "universal."' -- James White
Beyond sloppy. First of all, Timothy was not an historical narrative. According to this hermeneutic, the freedom found in Galatians 5 would only apply to the people at Galatia since they were having the problem with the Judaizers. The verses on godly contentment found in Philippians would only apply to the people at Philippi. That is simply not how you interpret the bible. Secondly his notion that this only applied to Ephesus is wrecked by the cross reference in 1Corinthians 14 which reiterates the Timothy verse but has Paul preface it by saying, "As in all the churches of the saints."
"So what does this mean for women in ministry? I share many of the conclusions espoused by John R.W. Stott's magnificent commentary on I Timothy, but most importantly the following two ideas: It means that women can teach, lead, speak and serve in any way they are so gifted. It also means that whatever is done must not violate God's order in the church. For that reason, Mecklenburg Community Church is led by a male senior pastor. It doesn't mean a woman can't serve in a pastoral role, or even be ordained to ministry. The key is whether they serve under the authority of Scripture and as a member of a pastoral team whose leader is a man as a contemporary symbol of God's designed order for the church. If that's in place, then there are no barriers." -- James White
Gifting is irrelevant. Just because you can sing that does not mean God says you must be in the choir. Just because you are a skilled orator does not mean you must teach. The solution White employs ignores what the key verses expressly say. The verses do not say I do not permit women to exercise authority over the senior pastor. It says I do not permit women to exercise authority over men, period.
"Or as Stott himself put it: "Why should it be thought inappropriate for women to exercise such servant leadership? They have done so throughout biblical history". The New Testament is now complete, and all Christian teachers are called to teach humbly under its authority. If then a woman teaches others, including men, under the authority of Scriptures (not claiming any authority of her own), in a meek and quiet spirit (not throwing her weight about), and as a member of a pastoral team whose leader is a man (as a contemporary cultural symbol of masculine headship), would it not be legitimate for her to exercise such a ministry, and be commissioned (ordained) to do so, because she would not be infringing the biblical principles of masculine headship?" Precisely. So I would not only welcome Beth Moore to teach/preach at Meck, I would be in the front row, taking notes." -- James White
Stott cannot produce one biblical example of women teaching men with authority in the church. It just simply does not exist. The fact that he would be taking notes from such a renowned false teacher however speaks to the discernment of James White. Just like the discernment of the AG pastor with forty years experience is also very suspect. You can climb on your Facebook soapbox all day long but you will answer to Christ for the people you led into obvious disobedience. Doesn't matter how long you pastored in a now heresy filled Assemblies of God.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- May 20, 2019
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 His purpose.