What About Women Being Silent? "But," some will protest, "What about Paul's calls for female silence and submission in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12? A careful examination of those passages reveal that Paul is responding to local situations in Corinth and Ephesus, and his statements were never meant to be applied across the board to all women and all churches everywhere. To make those two passages the controlling passages concerning women leads to the denial of the fact that Paul recognizes numerous women preachers and teachers who are his coworkers and fellow ministers in the gospel. These include Phoebe, Priscilla, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa and those women in Philippi whom he says, "labored with me in the gospel" (Phil. 4:3). -- Eddie Hyatt
So we come to the usual argument that all Christo-feminists must arrive at. They cannot stay true to Scripture as written because that would prove their argument hollow. The way we establish doctrine beloved is by determining multiple passages that teach the same thing. Scripture interprets Scripture. What we do not do however is throw that away in favor of cultural arguments that are not presented in Scripture. In order for Hyatt's conclusion to be correct, the Apostle Paul meant to say that he was having local congregational problems regarding the submission of women and their need to be silent but for some reason did not specify this context. Additionally, he is implying that God somehow missed this too when He was divinely inspiring the Apostle to write these verses. I find this summary so intellectually and biblically ignorant. We have two solid passages which are abundantly clear in what they are teaching and they agree with each other -- even Hyatt admits this! But he says nope, you don't make controlling doctrine out them and instead offers up his opinion of what Paul really meant based upon suppositions of what cultural issues were affecting the individual congregations at the time. Wow.
The other point that Christo-feminists always revert to is the mixing of several women who served in positive roles within the church with serving in leadership over men or in teaching. There is a vast difference between the two. Paul did not recognize "numerous women preachers and teachers." He offers up four more specific women and refers to two others from Philippians. Tryphena and Tryphosa are mentioned one time and referred to as "workers in the Lord." Priscilla is referenced as a "fellow worker in Christ." The two women referenced from Philippians are named Euodia and Syntyche and Paul refers to them as "co-laborers." Junia is actually a man, not a woman, as pointed out by multiple scholars. The text even refers to him as part of Paul's "kinsmen." Even if you insist that he was a she, the text only reveals that Junia was saved before Paul, was a fellow prisoner, and was well known by the Apostles.
That's it beloved. On one hand we have direct instructions from Paul, in two different texts, which are irrefutable. There is no question what they say. On the other hand we have a poor understanding of how one Greek word is translated and six examples of co-workers in the Lord being offered as proof that Paul was apparently misstating himself in the prescriptive texts. No one is saying that women cannot be coworkers in the Lord! We are just saying what God said in the key verses and Eddie Hyatt cannot escape their truth. I do not allow women to teach or exercise authority over men. If Paul meant only in your congregation, he would have said so because God is not a God of confusion. Phoebe was an important figure who served the Lord and should be revered as such but to make her into your cause celeb in your promotion of Christo-feminism is simply mangling the Bible. Just in case you were wondering; here is ALL the Bible says about Phoebe:
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. -- Romans 16: 1-2 (ESV)
That's it beloved. Not another word. What can we reasonably conclude from these two verses? We can agree that Phoebe was important to Paul and respected by him. We can conclude that she was part of the body of Christ as Paul implores them to receive her as such. We can conclude that she has been a patron for many, including Paul. The word here is diakonos. That word has always meant servant. The church, centuries later, would use the word to also mean elder or deacon. Phoebe was a trusted servant in the church in Cenchreae. To conclude anything beyond this, such as leadership, is irresponsible and poor hermeneutics. To conclude that she may have been Paul's pastor is scripturally negligent and reveals an agenda contrary to God.