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  1. Jim,

    Some good points you raise, I’d agree with some and disagree with others. To pick one point in Gal 3.28 there are both negations (ouk … oude) and connections (kai). Paul does not say in Christ there is “Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female”; he says rather that in Christ there is “no longer Jew and Greek, no longer slave and free, no longer male and female”. So I think that the negations do imply obliterations on some level. It could be argued that this obliteration is in the salvation sphere not the social sphere (yeah, maybe, but I’m not sure). But what I will say is that being in Christ does not thereby make people asexual beings and God does not think of us as neuter or maphrodites. Interestingly enough, Witherington points out that this verse can still be understood in a Patriarchal context!!!

  2. Jim,

    Since you recommend Grudem’s book I would like to ask if you are comfortable with the way he claims that egalitarians are unattractive to each other and lacking in discipline over their children, statements which Grudem makes without supporting data? I showed these parts of Grudem’s book to a friend of mine recently who simply could not believe her eyes. I had mine tested today, yes, Grudem wrote that!

    Grudem also omits the latest scholarship on Junia and depends to a great extent on the male priesthood of the OT.

    You yourself believe that women are saved by childbirth. But doesn’t this interpretation directly counters the teaching of Christ, Luke 11:27 and 28,

    27And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

    28But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

    and Paul, I Cor. 7:34,

    34There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

    For Christ and Paul surely a woman is no more sanctified by her anatomy than a man is.

    However, I do agree that a woman should express herself in expicitly feminine ways, I hope I do that myself. It is too bad that some seminaries will not benefit from women teaching the Biblical languages in explicitly feminine ways!

  3. “What is at stake is the authority of Scripture …”


    This is one of the many important things hanging in the balance on this issue. But it seems we ought to take this one step further. What is at stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the gospel is it has no power to transform lives. The fact that Paul’s application of the gospel returns again and again to the well-ordered church and family (not to mention Peter’s), indicates that the gospel can not be divorced from this issue.

    The paper you presented at Wheaton was priceless, the best article on the subject I saw all year. Keep up the good work. Present the gospel.


  4. I agree with CT. What is at stake is the Gospel.
    Paul gets his vision of manhood and womanhood from the created order–Adam first, then Eve. Elsewhere, he says that this order is a picture of Christ and the church, specifically Christ loving, redeeming and purifying the church. Therefore, when we twist biblical manhood and womanhood, we are twisting a visible presentation of the gospel.

  5. I can say, from deep, long and painful experience, that choosing the path you advocate leads unquestionably to bondage and misery for women whose temperaments and talents do not fit comfortably into the church’s narrow definition of the “feminine”. Any god or salvation represented by that repressive, patriarchal church is most definitely not good news.

  6. Good for you Christians, for exploring all of these frightening new possibilities (women as leaders, gasp!), and with such painstaking intellectualization, too. Being atheist, I don’t have to worry about these important “issues,” nor accept that some other human beings might be superior to me based solely on their genitalia.

    As a prostitute, I know firsthand just how weak, depraved, dishonest and hypocritical so many men are, not worthy of the women in their lives, yet according to your religions, still superior to them and charged with leading them through this life.

    So good job for at least throwing around the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could give a few of the girls a shot at the podium, see what strengths they might have to offer. With limitations, of course!

  7. Fellas,

    1. I’m uncomfortable with some of the comments and the inferences being made that the authority of Scripture is being undermined by persons who take a view of gender and ministry different from the one being espoused (I know you might disagree Jim but indulge me for a moment). Let’s say I’m a really hard corps Complementarian and I say that 1 Tim. 2 teaches that a man cannot be under a woman’s authority under ANY circumstance because the created order extends over every realm not just in the Church but private and public life as well; all areas of life are lived before God and under God – the created order does not cease to exist when you walk out of the church building. Therefore, the plain meaning of 1 Tim. 2 is that a man cannot work for a woman and a cannot learn from a woman either in Church, Seminary or in Education. So if you say that a woman can teach English literature at a Liberal Arts College, or a woman can be an officer in the Marines, or can be an senior Administrator in a Seminary, or can be President of the USA, then “I” would say that you are going against the plain teaching of Scripture and the only way you can be doing that is by undermining biblical authority. Now if someone said that to you: (a) how would you feel? (b) how would you respond? This is not a straw man argument but a good analogy about the rhetoric we use concerning those whom we disagree with over gender issues and what really constitutes an abrogation of biblical authority. Bad exegesis or bad hermeneutics do not equal errancy. I am concerned and confused by the position within some expressions of complementarianism that says everyone to the right of me is okay, a bit quirky or over the top perhaps; while everyone to the left of me is underming the authority of Scripture. I cannot for the life of me believe that scholars such as Millard Erickson, Bruce Winter or Simon Gathercole are a threat to biblical authority – they might be wrong – but I’m saving my ammo for far more worthy targets. As Christians we need to have a little bit more charity and love about whom we accuse of denying Scripture – BTW I’m not an egalitarian!

    2. When you start associating the gospel with complementarianism in the way that is being done here, I get shivers and shakes of fear all over.

  8. Dear Compartment,

    We don’t get those kind of comments on this blog often!

    I know to outsiders that this debate might seem like a somewhat backward issue that only neanderthols would discuss – I used to be an atheist myelf and everything I knew about Christians I learned from Ned Flanders – so I know where you’re coming from!

    Niether I nor Jim would think of ourselves as superior to our wives – we love them to bits. Maybe you have never experienced that kind of love from a man before, a self-sacrificing love that values your joy and happiness – I’m assuming that in your trade your wouldn’t meet much of that. But, believe it or not, some of us Christian men are not all hypocritical perverts and we don’t wake up every morning conspiring of ways to hurt and oppress women. What is more we have the metal to live out what we believe. I think I speak for myself and Jim when I say that we would rather be castrated ten thousand times than be unfaithful to our wives and I would rather have both of my arms amputated before I struck out in anger at my wife or daughters. Do you know any men like that?

    Wanna try something freaky and weird, read the Gospel of John and you’ll meet a man the likes you have never met before! He’s a friend to prostitutes and he accepts those that the “religious” reject. He’ll show you what real manhood, what loving masculinity, and what self-giving love is all about!

    best wishes

  9. Hey Mike,

    I’d like to know more specifically what is causing the shivers. All I am really saying is that there is a basic pattern in the New Testament epistles. In Ephesians we basically find three chapters of theology followed by three chapters of practice. The theology grounds the practice. The theology is the gospel and the practice is the outworking of the gospel.

    I’m not saying that the practice is the gospel, for that would be a works based righteousness. But they certainly are associated and it should not cause any shivers as far as I can see.



  10. Dear Compartments,

    My friend Mike is right. There really are men who don’t want to use women, who want to be faithful to their wives, who want to love their wives in self-sacrificial ways.

    Jesus can save you, Compartments. He knows what is in every one of your Compartments, and in spite of what is there he loves you. He knows everything you’ve ever done, and he loves you.

    His death on the cross paid the penalty for all your sin.

    If you trust him, he will give you living water that will satisfy your every thirst. He will give you the white robe of his very own righteousness that will clothe your nakedness. He will wash you clean of every stain, if you will trust him. He will wipe away your every tear. He will provide for you more than money can. He will be a refuge that won’t leave you hung over. He will be a shield that will not fail. He will be everything you have ever longed for. He will not fail you. He will piece together your shattered heart.

    Your only hope is to flee to Jesus.

    You can know an intimacy that is real, an intimacy that you don’t have to hide from, an intimacy that won’t leave you feeling dirty. You can be clean again if you will trust Jesus. You can know the power of a love that lays down its life for the good of the beloved. You can know the power of grace, a power that can set you free from bondage to sin.

    But you will only know these things if you flee to Jesus and trust him.

    I hope you’ll take Mike’s suggestion and read the Gospel of John. When you get to the fourth chapter, you’ll see how Jesus interacted with a woman whose deeds made her want to be compartmentalized, too. Jesus urges her to recognize that what she has done is wrong, and he lovingly tells her the truth. He tells her what she needs to hear, and he offers her hope. Won’t you taste the living water he offers?

    I pray that you, too, will hope in Jesus,


  11. Amanda,

    Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside, which indicates that their discussion took place in private. Also, the text doesn’t tell us who did the talking, so we don’t know that Aquila taught Apollos. Finally, I don’t think we should read this example from a narrative describing what happened in a way that would set it up to contradict what Paul prescribes in 1 Timothy. After all, Luke and Paul traveled together, and they probably agreed with one another.



  12. Tia,

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I am confident that if you were to compare your experience with that of the wives of several of the men who have commented on this thread (Mike Bird, Eric Schumacher, or my own wife), you would find that obeying the Bible does not, in fact, lead to abuse.

    The model for Christian marriage is the relationship between Christ and the church: Jesus is Lord, and the church submits to him. This is the way that Paul says that husbands and wives should relate to each other in Ephesians 5. Jesus doesn’t lead the church in an abusive way. He lays down his life for the church. Jesus’ leadership of the church is for the church’s benefit! And so it should be with marriage. Any man who abuses a woman is not following Jesus.

    I hope you’ll find a church where the Bible is believed and where people follow Jesus,


  13. Suzanne,

    I don’t believe you have fairly represented Wayne Grudem’s comments. I trust the broader context of his statements would be helpful.

    I do not believe the Bible contradicts itself, and I don’t see the passages you cite, when read in context, as being in any way contradictory to 1 Tim 2:15.



  14. Tia, (from Jim’s wife)

    I just wanted to jump in here. I can vouch for my husband that godly men who truly love Jesus and are committed to His Word are the kinds of leaders that are kind and loving and self-sacrificial. Aside from God’s love, I have never known a love as unselfish and gentle and sweet as that of my husband to me. I say this with all honesty and whole-hearted gratitude. The Bible is clear (Genesis 3:16), and I know it from experience, that women all have the tendency to want to rise up and overstep our boundaries and be the leaders and the ones in control. It’s just a part of our nature, and it’s a part that must be tamed by calling out to God for strength to obey Him and then just sheer obedience. The blessings that follow from doing things His way are tremendous and are worth what some might call the “sacrifice.” In dying we live…..

    God bless you,

    Jill Hamilton, Jim’s wife

  15. Chris,
    What makes me shiver is not a link between theology and praxis; we all would agree that the transforming power of the gospel flows into our lives (I’m currently writing a commentary on Colossians 3 and that much is clear to me). What I find concerning is when you equate one particular interpretation of how that works in life with the gospel. If I permit a woman to teach in a seminary or even to serve as an associate pastor in a church, it does not make me an opponent of biblical authority or the gospel. I want to avoid the formulae that the gospel = Jesus + Complementarianism (or my view of complementarianism!). When you start associating other doctrines with the gospel, e.g. rapture, confessionalism, or whatever, I fear that you are coming close to distorting the gospel and are confusing the consequence with its content. If we follow the logic you’ve raised, then egalitarians don’t believe the gospel. And that is something I find wrong on a theological and experiential level.

    I have waffled too much on this blog already, I’ll leave it to you guys to wrap it up.


  16. Compartments (from Jim’s wife),

    It’s interesting to me, if you are an atheist, that you would be reading a Christian weblog. Are you searching out Christianity? Are you seeking something, or Someone that you have not yet found apart from a belief in deity?

    One of the most awesome things about Jesus is that you can come to Him just as you are. Contrary to how most people understand, you don’t have to “clean yourself up” to go to Him. He just wants you to go to Him, and HE will clean you off, give you a new heart with new desires, and make you into a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) He will be to you a Husband unlike any human could ever be –ever faithful, ever loving, and jealous for you to love Him supremely rather than the other deities this world has to offer. He will accept you, and you will no longer have anything to hide, as His perfect grace and forgiveness will free you to be complete and transparent with Him, and with everyone else in life. He will even use all of your past experiences to bring glory to Himself and good to you. He’s amazing, Compartments, and He’s calling out to you to experience real Love for the first time in your life. He won’t let you down.

    Love in Him,

    Jill Hamilton, Jim’s wife

  17. Thanks Mike,

    I’m totally there with you as far as the statement goes. In fact, this is how I view much of the Baptist/Paedo-baptist debates. We both have a firm grasp of the gospel and we only disagree in how to interpret some very illusive texts. Others say the same thing about our doctrine of justification. Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants are all trying to work through some hard texts and make sense of them.

    I’m not quite there with you on this issue though. I find it interesting that the churches throughout history, whether Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant have never found these text “hard to interpret.” This new (50 year old?) interpretation may have gained much ground in recent years, but as Wayne Grudem correctly asks in his new book Evangelical Feminism:

    “Does it seem likely that all of the liberal churches who no longer believe the Bible have suddenly gotten the interpretation of the Bible regarding men’s and women’s roles exactly right, and that the most conservative churches who hold strongly to biblical inerrancy have gotten it exactly wrong?”

    I think you are trying to caution me away from equating the acceptance of patriarchy with the path to heaven. As far as that goes, I agree. Jesus’ blood and righteousness is our only hope. But I do think that if the Holy Spirit is truly working in the life of an individual, that individual will begin leaning this direction. And I say this because of how clearly the Bible speaks to the issue.



  18. Chris,

    1. I’m confused why your ecumenism can’t extent to egalitarians who are often more orthodox than the Orthodox on some issues!

    2. Egalitarianism is a departure from the historical view of women, I agree, but unfortunately (as any Patristic scholar will also tell you) the historical view has also been that women are ontologically inferior to men. Not just functionally subordinate, but ontologically inferior! I think we should dispense with that historical view.

    3. I think Egalitarianism also goes beyond the liberal vs. conservative divide as not all egalitarians are liberals. This might blow your mind but most liberals I talk to would agree with Grudem’s exegesis of 1 Tim. 2.11-15. They think it is patriarchy pure and simple. Their response is: “But God has moved us beyond that. And just as he called us to be free from Patriarchial structures so now he calls us to be free from Homophobic attitudes”. Or else: “The guy who wrote that was a sexist bigot – who cares what he thinks!”. You see my point. The guys and gals of Christians for Biblical Equality (whom I count as friends) do not argue like that. They argue from the text and its context, that is to be commended and valued. They are singing off the sheet of gospel music that I am working off even if I can’t quite carry the same tune.

    4. I’m not trying to warn you about making Patriarchy the path to heaven – I wouldn’t impute that to you – I’m concerned about a narrowing of the boundaries of what passes as Evangelical identity and the question who are the guys in the white hats and who are guys in the black hats. I don’t mind saying that Egalitarians are wrong, seriously wrong, with bad consequences of their view for church life and marriage. What I struggle with is the view that they are somewhow threatening biblical authority.

    Time for bed!

  19. Hi Jill (and Jim, as I respond to you here too)

    Thanks so much for your well-meaning concern. I recognize it and know, after many, many years in many expressions of the Bible-believing church, how sincerely you mean what you say. I’d just like to point out, though, that there is absolutely nothing uniquely female about the human “tendency to want to rise up and overstep our boundaries and be the leaders and the ones in control”. This kind of accusation is always leveled by persons or cultures in power against anyone else, male or female, by whom they feel threatened (whether actually or potentially).

    It’s wonderful to live in a world made clear by the Bible. I know, I used to live there. However, the Bible that we’ve inherited is likely very different from the one (many, actually) that the early Christians relied on before Nicea, and there’s not much record of any female influence on the decisions about canon, is there? If one were brave enough, one might ask why nothing by Mary M made it into the “official” version? On the other hand, while you’re one of the few not conscious of any abuse, because your husband’s love compensates for any systemic abuse (and I fully believe it might; I’m not questioning that), why not lie back and enjoy it? There’s plenty of time for pain when/if the bubble bursts.

    And Jim, I can see from your excellent writing that you are a deep-thinking, well-studied and very precise sort of person. You are also an idealist par excellence when you talk about Ephesians 5. Do you really think that, even presuming it were true, the billions of women who are and have been abused, many largely as a result of the teachings of the church, can obtain any kind of comfort from being told that their abusers are not following Jesus?

    Another thing: what kind of God would write a book for an audience that is predominantly female (statistically, there are more women than men), and give only the paltry few scriptures that you quote as “clearly” delineating God’s opinion on gender roles, if the gender difference were as significant as the (male) leadership of the fundamentalist church thinks it to be? It seems to me far more sensible to take the contextualizing view that Paul himself offers on the subject of headcoverings – that they at the time had no other custom. The church was involved in the urgent task of spreading the good news and he didn’t see any point in creating waves through unusual fashions, when one’s witness should be through good deeds. He also didn’t want to devote any time to arbitrating on the issue himself as he didn’t think it was very important.

    I wish that we could genuinely communicate, but from previous experience I suppose that this is unlikely given the difference in our worldviews. However, I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to express my thoughts to you. Have a good week.


  20. Jim,

    No one will explain what Dr. Grudem puts in his book which is very distateful and rude. I can only assume that complementarians actually believe themselves to be more attractive to the opposite sex than other human beings. His book reads like a beer commercial – why is this not obvious to anyone reading it?

    And, yes, submission means bondage and misery to many women. If one woman is loved to bits another is beaten to bits, and it can be pointed out that she was not sufficiently submissive because guess what – no woman can be sufficiently submissive. And more than half of women are not even married at all. They must live in some male governed limbo? What and whom do they embrace. Better let them embrace a mission for God in all its fullness.

  21. Evangelical Feminism page 54


    – men become unmasculine, unattractive to women, women become unfeminine, unattractive to men

    – ambivalence toward sex

    – systematic pressure to make boys and girls do equally well in all subjects

    – children raised with too little discipline

    – little respect for authority

    – mutual submission often husband as wimp and wife as usurper

    This is from Grudem. Shall I continue?

    When people write about complementarians and wife abuse they actually have a few studies to quote, whether these are justified or not, these studies do exist.

    Why didn’t Grudem do a cursory study of how egalitarian men and women find each
    other so unattractive?

    I agree with Tia and compartments, men are weak and depraved, they are human like women. They are not the redeemers in their wives lives, any more than they were redeemers for Tamar, Bathsheba, Michael, Leah and many other women who lived without a living husband. Statistics show that most women are unmarried and of those that are married some are either the breadwinner or abused. So a small fraction are happily married to men who support them. Who is the gospel for? Those few?

    And somebody, somebody, please ask Grudem why he didn’t bother to look at the lexicons before he drafted the Colorado Springs Guidelines.

    And then tell me why the ESV, ISV, CEV and the NET Bible will not admit that the Greek text says that Junia was a woman and an apostle. IMHO, complementarian men have established a track record of discourtesy towards women. So why should they be trusted with any scholarship regarding women.

    Some of the most quoted men write poor scholarship, disregard lexicons and grammars, write reviews of books they don’t read, (I asked Dr. Packer personally why he recommended Grudem’s book and he told me he didn’t want to read it first so he just recommended it) etc. If a man treats his wife well then his wife should be happy, but other women are not well served by this. It makes no difference to them that one woman is happy with her man.

    But I do like to read Bauckham, Epp, Watson, Fee, Bailey,Longnecker, Wright, and many other men who write books which appear to be well-researched.

  22. As a woman myself, I have spent a lot of time wrestling over the verses outlined above. For a good while, I was resigned to a second-class role in the Kingdom, as far as ministry and my ability to do the works of God. I am very much a stickler for Scripture, and it drives me up the wall when plain passages are intentionally misinterpreted to fit a given agenda. We need to adjust our hearts to the Bible, not try to custom-fit the Bible to our ideas and preconceived notions.

    That much said, I have done a fair amount of research on the subject. I understand I’m not necessarily going to sway anyone who reads this, but I was hoping to offer my two cents that I believe women in ministry is a very viable idea scripturally.

    I believe very firmly in taking a face-value interpretation of the Word. It means what it says and says what it means (allowing for figures of speech, intentional symbolism, etc.). The only reason to question a passage’s meaning is if it is seemingly at odds with another scripture.

    This is the problem I encounter when taking verses like 1Timothy 2 as being obvious universal statements. Paul commended a number of ladies in his letters–Junia (“of note among the apostles,” Ro 16:7), Priscilla (“fellow worker” Ro 16:3), Phoebe (to be received in a worthy manner and assisted in any business she needs Ro 16:1-2). Would Paul commend these women as workers of the gospel in one letter, and then decide they must remain silent in another? Something seems out of place. Perhaps we should reevaluate texts in light of Paul’s clear acceptance of women in at least some capacity of public ministry. A lot of them can be explained if we consider the historical context Paul was speaking into. Was Paul saying that women *everywhere* are forbidden to teach at *any time*? Or was he giving specific directives for specific churches who were having specific probelms with their women (who would have been poorly educated due to their gender, new to the things of the Lord, and not at all ready to teach)? We assign things like the instructions on head coverings to the particular church situation, but make the rules on gender universal. It seems to me there’s some inconsistency in that.

    One scripture I wanted to address–Galatians 3:28. I understand that this is interpreted soteriologically. But a question I’ve had for a while about it is that if Jews and Gentiles are equally qualified to minister–if slave and free alike are equally allowed to speak–why do we still hold a distinction of qualification between the male and female? Absolutely, the differences between them have not been obliterated. Far from it. But it seems odd to me that the slave would be placed on an equal plane with their master, while a woman is still a step behind a man.

    I’m afraid I’ve already run on longer than I intended to. I do want to voice my agreement with the dangers of hyper-feminism and gender confusion that results from people getting a little *too* impassioned about being egalitarian–even if they have to casually discard Scripture to do so. I’ve read several egalitarian articles and books that I consider to have gone too far to try and correct the problem, creating a new problem instead. The difference between femininity and masculinity is a beautiful thing that was God’s idea in the first place. I’m not fighting for my “fair piece of the pie.” I’m simply attempting to pursue my calling as a believer (which, in case anyone was wondering, is not to be a pastor–but it is to be in ministry).

    I want to be very clear that I care deeply about keeping my theology biblically sound, and am willing to change my views should they be unable to stand before the Word of God. However, I hope that I have shown one can be egalitarian and still care passionately about preserving the literality and integrity of Scripture.

  23. Oh dear Suzanne, at it again. Yes everyone, please do go and read page 54 of Dr Grudem’s book.
    What you will find is a chart with 5 columns charting from the extreme of ‘No Differences’ to ‘No Equality’.
    Suzanne has attempted to take this information out of context elsewhere and always leaves out the information about the chart and always leaves out the note at the bottom of the page which says (and I quote);

    ‘Please note: This chart contains many generalizations and is only meant to show broad tendencies. Most people and religious systems hold mixed views and have inconsistencies in thinking. Moreover, conscience, social pressures, and the Bible often restrain people from adopting all aspects of non-biblical views. Therefore this chart certainly does not imply that every person or religious system within each column holds to everything in that column.’

    If a person didn’t have the book already how many would take the time to go and check it out? How many would make the assumption that it is being reported accurately with proper context given?

    You do not have to buy the book to check out these statements as the whole book is on-line at This is another piece of information that Suzanne always fails to give.

    Please take the time to go to the website and see for yourself the actual context of the statements reported here.

  24. Amanda,

    Thanks for your note. I agree with you that women can be “in ministry,” and I think they can do many, many things in ministry.

    What Paul prohibits women from doing is twofold: teaching men and exercising authority over them. One way this works itself out is that women can pray and prophesy in church if they do so with their heads covered–as a sign that they are embracing their role as women and submitting to male authority in the church. But they can pray and prophesy in the congregation. Then when it comes time for the prophecies to be evaluated, they are to remain silent (1 Cor 14:29-35). Not always silent under every circumstance–they can pray and prophesy–silent when prophecies are evaluated. Probably so they won’t “exercise authority” over a prophecy uttered by a male prophet.

    So I think there are many things that women can do in ministry that do not require them to teach men or exercise authority over them. We never see the women that are commended in the NT teaching men or exercising authority over men.

    Hope this helps!


  25. Amanda,

    I forgot to comment on Gal 3:28 in the previous note.

    I think Romans 11:25-27 means that when Jesus returns, all living Jews (ethnic Jews) will be saved when they see him.

    One thing this indicates is that on some level there is still a distinction between Jews and Gentiles. We also see this when we read in Revelation that there will be people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. National and racial distinctions do not keep one from Christianity, but they are not obliterated.

    A lot is implied about racial relations, social relations, and gender relations in Galatians 3:28. Christianity presents an unparalleled equality for those who live by faith and are baptized into Jesus. I suspect there is no other religious system that comes close to what Christianity has on this point. This equality, however, has its own boundaries. Those boundaries are defined by the same inspired author who articulated the equality.

    So Paul lays out this radical freedom and dignity and standing that all people have by faith in Jesus, and then he sketches in the guard-rails that will keep us from abusing our freedom. The guard-rails lay out how men and women relate to each other in church, how husbands and wives relate to each other in the home, and how parents relate to their children. Note, also, that in letters written after Galatians Paul tells slaves to submit to their masters and masters to be just with their slaves.

    Slavery is different from gender because God did not create or command slavery. The OT laws on slavery regulate what humans were already doing. The OT laws do not mandate that slavery exist.

    Gender, by contrast, was God’s idea in Eden before the fall. And this is what Paul appeals to when he asserts that women should not teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim 2:9-15).

    David Wells (I think it was Wells) tells a parable about children playing on the plateau at the top of a high mountain. The sides of the mountain drop straight down, but the plateau is surrounded with high, strong walls. With the walls in place, the children engage in romping, raucous fun. Then along comes a liberator who alleges that the walls are restrictive, unnecessary, and further, if God loved them, he would not want them to have these walls. The walls are removed. Gone is the romping, raucous fun. In its place is a crowd of children huddled at the middle of the plateau, fearful of the precipice, insistent about their rights to play without the wall, and unwilling to entertain the notion that the walls made them safe. . .

    When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Corinthians 14, Colossians 3, Ephesians 5, and 1 Timothy 2, I don’t think he felt any tension with what he had written in Galatians 3:28.

    Hope this helps!


  26. Dear Suzanne,

    Please see the commented directed to you by Glenn.

    Suzanne, may I encourage you to look at the ultimate man, Jesus? See his strength and dignity. See the way he lays down his life for his people. See him leave glory and luxury for the dust and grime of the ancient world. See him patiently love people less intelligent than himself, less capable than himself, less dignified, less loving, less wise, less in every way–and he really does love them.

    If you will see the masculinity of Jesus, and he really is masculine, perhaps the glimmers of that masculinity that you see in men who are trying to follow Jesus will cause you to rejoice. And when you see men trying to follow Jesus fail, perhaps you can take that as an occasion to praise Jesus because he never fails like his followers do.

    May God bless you,


  27. Jim,

    The fact that I did not quote the footnote does not mean that Dr. Grudem did not write what I quoted. So far, no one has expained why he wrote these things without any attempt at accuracy or factual basis. Preaching to me does not make Grudem a scholar.

    Since you make no attempt at respnding to my questions I assume you have no answers no rebuttal. You appear to have nothing further to contribute to the debate.

  28. Hello Again Mike,

    Thanks for taking the time to interact. In your fourth point above you state that your concern is that I seem to be moving the ancient boundary stones, making the sphere of the saved smaller. I find that a wee bit odd since it seems to me that what has really happened over the past few years is that someone has pushed the markers outward.

    But I’d like to state more clearly what I am and am not try to do. What I would like to see happen over the next ten years or so is for biblical scholars to develop a thorough biblical theology of manhood and womanhood. In a sense, I’m tired of the scholarship in this area being reactionary. I’d like to see a through and positive statement of who we are as male and female.

    I really don’t care about boundary markers. I really don’t even think the question is appropriate (yet). Until such a biblical theology is developed, we have no good reason to even be talking about boundary markers.



  29. I would warn against language of “authority” and given interpretations. Helpful here is teh dated but helpful work by David Kelsey, “The Uses of Scripture in Recent Theology.”

  30. Suzanne, as you are well aware, the impression you try to give is that Dr Grudem is making the statements you refer to in the context of a normal paragraph.
    To date you have never made reference to the fact that they are contained within a chart and you have never made the slightest attempt to refer to the foot note, which despite your disingenuous efforts to imply the contrary, is actually an important indicator of the full context not only of the remarks, but of the chart in general.
    If you want to know why Dr Grudem wrote as he did then why don’t you read the rest of the book. Dr Grudem explains himself very clearly and in great detail.
    You disagree with him, but you cannot in truthfulness make then claim that you do not know why he wrote as he did.

    It would be as well for everyone to realise that Suzanne has attacked Dr Grudem on many blogs with these self same claims and always without the full and accurate context.

  31. I am not sure why it is relevant that Dr. Grudem’s statements wre made with in a chart. How does that mitigate them? And I do not see how the footnote helps either. I don’t deny that it is there – I just don’t see the relevance. He said egalitarian men tend to be wimpy and unattractive to the opposite sex. What is the basis for this. Would he be happy to say that directly to egalitarian men – to their face?

    I said that I find this offensive and Jim deletes my post. That is a double standard.

    Here is one example of Dr. Grudem’s scholarship,

    “in fact, the major Greek lexicons for over 100 years have said that adelphoi, which is the plural of the word adelphos, ‘brother” sometimes means “brothers and sisters” (see BAGD, 1957 and 1979, Liddell-Scott-Jones, 1940 and even 1869).

    This material was new evidence to those of us who wrote the May 27 guidlines – we weren’t previously aware of this pattern of Greek usage outside the Bible. Once we saw these examples and others like them, we felt we had to make some change in the guidelines.” The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Contorversy page 425 – 426

    He wrote this about himself. I don’t wish to perpetuate any false impressions. I only wish that women could see that they don’t need to treat books by Dr. Grudem as if they were guidelines for life.

  32. On Junia, Burer now admits that,

    “several writers have pointed out that our translation and citation of the passage in the original piece were not the best.” here.

    It must be accepted that the ESV, ISV, CEV and NET Bibles all translate Romans 16:7 in direct contravention of either the current UBS text or the accepted understanding of Greek scholarship over 2000 years. Wallace and Burer do not have a “close parallel” – the understanding of the Greek church fathers that Junia was an apostle should stand. The modern Greek Vamva version is unambiguous, Junia was among the apostles. Why do modern English scholars doubt the witness of the Greek? Why do they question God’s word?

    So Dr. Grudem, in writing about Junia in Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth is not faithful to Biblical truth.

    It is this trend towards creating ‘novel and suspect’ interpretations of the scripture which I find so disturbing. Does this not concern anyone else?

  33. Suzanne, of course the full context is important, except when it suits, eh.

    Junia as ‘messenger’, but Junia could not have been an Apostle, apostle yes, but then so are many.

    You also give the impression that all the ‘Church Fathers’ considered Junia an Apostle, as in a leader of the Church, this is simply not so, and you know it.

    As the Bible clearly states that leadership of God’s Church is male only it is an impossibility for Junia to have been an Apostle.

    As I have pointed out elsewhere, there is clear unambiguous teaching in the Bible that leadership is male only.
    If you want to persuade me otherwise you will have to show me clear unambiguous teaching in the Bible that shows that this is not the case.
    Every time I throw this gauntlet down I have waited in vain for a reply showing that God intended otherwise.

  34. Glenn,

    You completely misunderstand my purpose in writing about Junia. Of course, it is not necessary for complementarian Bibles to say that Junia is not an apostle (small a) so why do they do it? That is what puzzles me. And they do it for contradictory reasons. As Eldon Jay Epp says, “The emperor has no clothes!” Not my expression, but Epp’s.

    Since the KJV accepted Junia as a small ‘a’ apostle, why is it so threatening that people now have to misrepresent the original text as God gave it to us.

    I am happy to admit that Grudem calls egalitarian men wimps in the context of his whole book. Anyone is free to read his book and find the context. The book is online. I am not hiding anything. I still cannot imagine what context would give him the right to do that. What is the justification? I cannot imaagine why anyone would recommend such a book.

  35. Glenn,

    There is no record of a church father, previous to the 13th century, who thought Junia was a man, and none who wrote that she was not an apostle. There is no such record. I can’t imagine what you are refering to.

    Just because modern men think that it is impossible for a woman to be an apostle, they deliberately gave a reading in the UBS for which there was no manuscript evidence, and this was only corrected recently. The BADG mentioned Junias as a male name when no record of such a thing existed. Wallace supplied a truncated quote from the Psalm of Solomon in support of his particular theory on Junia.

    Isn’t this enough? Why shouldn’t I stand up for the truth?

  36. apostle – small ‘a’ yes. (messenger)

    Apostle – capital ‘A’ no. (Leader of the Church)

    As usual you are unable to give me biblical evidence to back a claim to women in leadership of Church (as there is none)

    As always this boils down to wishful thinking versus biblical truth

  37. Glenn, what precedent are you looking to for taking Junia to be a lowercase “a” apostle? I though Greek didn’t have capital letters.

    I don’t want to leap into another big post; I was just wondering where you got this information.

    And I’m curious why Junia’s status needs to be diminished, rather than the verse on women and teaching being reevaluated.

  38. Glenn,

    If you accord Junia small ‘a’ spostleship then you are lightyears ahead of most complementarian Bible translator teams. My pressing issue is the current state of scholarship, not women in leadership. That I leave to others. I deplore the present state of editorial decision-making on conservative Bible translation teams. What are these men trying to duck by diminishing Junia and fiddling with the text?

    I sense that in this, incredibly you and I agree – the text should not be toyed with. My point is that men mislead others for the simple reason that they wish to obfuscate over the status of women. They are less than honest in propping up their case. If the case is clear then let it be so.

    But women must not be led astray by men who fiddle with the text. Women are not well served by putting blind trust in male leadership. Male leadership is not necessarily benign – it is open to bias. Women must have direct access to God’s word apart from male teaching that is demonstrably full of bias.

    However, when we discuss women in leadership, we must accept that single women are given status by Jesus and Paul, that Phoebe was spoken of as a leader in Greek, prostatis, that Lydia was the head of a household, that Junia was an apostle, that Nympha had a church in her home, that ‘leading women’ among the Greeks were converted, that women provided financially for Jesus and his disciples. These are all women leaders and providers.

    We know that over the centuries each of these women has been called into question by men. Men have tried to edit out the female from time to time. This is a fact of of textual record – male scholars have attacked the status of each of these women. This is history.

    Women need to know this. They cannot have blind trust in male scholarship. This is why I quote for women the fact that Dr. Grudem went into the Colorado Springs conference unprepared. I would not want to trust my physical health to someone who had this kind of attitude towards their profession, so certainly not my spiritual health.

    As a woman who has lived within a complementarian church community all my life – I want to tell other women that when I began to look at what had actually happened in Bible translation the scales fell from my eyes.

    I appeal to truth in all things. Women in leadership is a secondary issue for me – honesty in scholarship is first and foremost – faithfulness to the original text. Faithfulness and truth are more important than masculinity.

    Interestingly Jesus spoke of himself as ‘the truth’, but never as ‘the masculine’. Truth is a spiritual value, not ‘the masculine’. Jesus was only described as anthropos, human, and never as aner, male. It is a call to realism that Jesus was God and human. He was indeed male but ‘the male’ does not trump ‘the truth’. That is what Dr. Grudem and others are trying to do when they write about the ‘prominence’ of the male and ‘male representation’. This is not a teaching of the scriptures.

  39. Amanda,

    You are correct. There is no basis whatsoever for saying that Junia has small ‘a’ apostleship. This is open for discussion. But the conservative scholars don’t want to have this discussion so they have rearranged the text in ways that are not permissable, given what we now know about the manuscripts. Wallace and Burer made a grammatical attempt to edit Junia out, but, having looked at their original data, I cannot find that they have an argument worthy of consideration.

    I should not go on about this so much but it burdens me to think that there are women who are still in bondage to this misapprehension of the gospel.

  40. Hi, I use small ‘a’ to indicate that whatever else Junia may or may not have been, Junia was not, and indeed could not be, an Apostle. As in, someone with leadership authority over the Church.
    Amanda, you talk about Junia’s position being diminished…how so. Diminution of what?
    For example, even keeping the wording ‘outstanding among the apostles’ does not make Junia someone with Apostolic authority. ‘outstanding among the apostles’ indicates outstanding amongst the messengers or sent ones.

    Also Amanda on what basis would you be re-evaluating the Biblical passages that clearly teach that leadership is male only in Gods Church…..apart from personal preference that is?

  41. I would add to this discussion on apostleship the observation that if Junia were an Apostle with a capital A, we would surely have some reference to her in the Gospels.



  42. Mike,

    Simon Gathercole is an egalitarian? Not that it’s a big deal, but this surprises me. Do you know of where he has stated or written this anywhere? Thanks!

  43. Nick,

    My allusion to Bruce Winter and to Simon Gathercole was (rhetorically) to give examples of relatively conservative scholars who might not cross the t’s and dot the i’s the same way that others might do when it comes to women in ministry or what women can or cannot do. I made no claim to represent what position they hold be it egalitarian or complementarian. What I do say is that I am fairly sure that they would not hold the same exact view of women as say Paige Patterson, and I am positive that they are not thereby enemies of biblical authority by virtue of that fact!

  44. Suzanne, why do you persist in this nonsense that anthropos only means human

    The usage of anthropos indicates that it has not only a specific masculine sense in certain contexts, but also that a Greek-speaking person of the apostolic era would presume that anyone who is called an anthropos is male. This may be seen in the following examples from the New Testament:

    * Matthew 19:5 “Therefore shall an anthropos leave his father and mother, and hold fast to his wife.” (also in Ephesians 5:31)
    * Matthew 19:10 “If such is the case of an anthropos with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
    * I Corinthians 7:1 “It is good for an anthropos not to touch a woman.”

    There are many examples from the LXX as well. Also from Dionysius Halicarnassensis, De comp. verb. 18.201; Dio Chrysostom, Orat. 32.89.3; or Clement of Rome, Homil. 13.15.2) where anthropos quite demonstrably stands in semantic opposition to gyne, “woman,”

  45. Jim,
    Are your saying then that Apostles must be restricted to the 12? How do Matthias and Paul fit into this since they aren’t mentioned in the Gospels? So besides the 12 all other apostles are just messengers? Messengers of who? It seems like even if you could make a distinction between “a” and “A” apostles, that either way there is still authority bound up in the title.

    I think Susan has given you plenty of evidence (much of which you haven’t addressed) but you continue to say it’s actually ambiguous and therefore not evidence worthy to be considered according to your criteria. Unambiguous is such a slippery word because it’s up to you to decide what counts as ambiguous and not. You seem to be operating on an prior assumption that any evidence that she gives that seems to disagree with your complementarian interpretation of certain scriptures must be wrong and not evidence at all. So for example, obviously Junia isn’t an apostle with authority but just a messenger since a woman can’t have any authority based on the “clear” teaching of other verse (although I don’t know why being a “messenger” would afford Junia any less authority.)

    Bryan L

  46. Bryan,
    I have interacted with Suzanne on this subject and many of its aspects many times in the past and have still to get an answer to my question;
    “If you want to persuade me that leadership in Gods Church is not male only you will have to show me clear unambiguous teaching in the Bible that shows that this is not the case.”

    You say that ‘unambiguous’ is a slippery word, but I disagree. For every so called ‘difficult’ saying in the Bible there is much that is clear and straight forward.
    The passages that deal with the leadership of the Church being male only are clear and ‘unambiguous’.
    Despite my many requests to Suzanne and others to show me verses that are equally clear about the inclusion of women in the leadership of the Church no one has ever come up with any. All I ever get (if I get an answer at all) are variations on ‘God wouldn’t do that’ or personal preference alone.

    In fact, Bryan, you show me verses in the Bible that clearly state that women are to be included in the leadership of the Church and I will concede.

  47. Again Glen, Suzanne has presented much evidence, but you define it all as ambiguous. It’s not that ambiguous to others. To many others the evidence makes sense and points in a certain direction. Maybe some of it is open to interpretation but so are your key verses (such as 1 Tim). If theology operated by your strict guidelines think of how many doctrines we might have to throw out. Theology is a lot more complicated than a couple of clear “unambiguous” verses.
    Bryan L

  48. Bryan, I see that like Suzanne and others you are unable to provide Biblical evidence to support the inclusion of women in leadership. As usual it is personal opinion and preference.

    Theology is a broad and deep subject, but it is not as ‘complicated’ as people like to make out. Much of it is clear and straight forward. Some is difficult to understand and as such we have to work at it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    I Tim is very clear and easy to understand and your wish to impose a lack of clarity upon it doesn’t (thankfully) change that self evident fact.

  49. Glen all you are saying is that I or any others are unable to provide evidence that personally satisfies you. You fail to interact with anything that people show you so…
    It can be shown that Junia was considered an apostle, that there were women prophets in the early church and women also did teaching (including men like Apollos). These are what Paul over and over shows to be leaders in the church in both Ephesians and Corinthians.
    Unfortunately your interpretation of 1 Tim controls how you look at all the other evidence, but it can be demonstrated that what Paul says is context bound and that the so called argument from the order of creation is instead just an analogy which fits the context of the rest of the letter.
    Sure theology is not as complicated as everyone thinks it is. That’s why after 2000 years we still haven’t come to any consensus and larger volumes on theology are being written every year. Either way my point was that if we were doing theology using your strict guidelines of scriptural proof we would have to throw out many of our doctrines.
    Bryan L

  50. Jim,

    Could you please leave this comment up as a record of the fact that I cannot continue to interact with Glenn or others since I have been moderated out and my comments are being deleted.

    Thanks so much.


  51. Suzanne,

    Please know that I only write what follows out of genuine concern for you. I tell you this because I think it is what you need to hear. I hope that you will receive these words in the spirit in which they are intended, and I hope that you will seek to follow Jesus and imitate him.

    I delete your comments when you direct ad hominem arguments and inappropriate remarks against me personally.

    Perhaps I should have employed this consistently and deleted all your comments, because they all commit logical and rhetorical fallacies, foremost among them the ad hominem attack.

    I chose not to do so, allowing your comments to stand, because allowing you to speak for yourself is a persuasive argument against the views you espouse.

    Wisdom and folly cry out in the streets. The discerning can tell the difference between the two.

    It is possible to articulate a position strongly without attacking people. When debaters communicate charitably, people listen to them and their comments won’t be deleted. If debaters are unfair to those with whom they seek to dialogue, the dialogue ceases and incendiary comments are deleted or ignored.



  52. Susan,

    Let’s take a step back for a moment. You teach children with learning and communication difficulties. You are a linguist. Maybe you could stop and think for just a second about what you would tell a little child about how to proceed from here.

    As far as I can tell, you are not communicating very well with Glenn or Jim. I’m not a linguist or an education expert. I don’t have a good answer as to how you might communicate your position more clearly. Nor do I know how you might interact with the arguments Glenn and Jim have presented.

    What might you suggest?



  53. Christopher,

    I shall try now to approach this as if I were speaking to someone with a communication difficulty. I would talk about only one point at a time and then I would wait for confirmation that that one point had been understood.

    I have success as a teacher because of the exceptional affection and patience which I have for children but I do not know if I can express that here.

    I shall try again.

    Dr, Grudem writes of egalitarian men often as wimps and egalitarian women often as usurpers. He does not support this with research. I would therefore like to express that as a non-complementarian, I am disappointed that someone with an academic background would recommend this book.

    Christopher, how was that.?

    I will further admit that the ‘beer commercial’ comment could be seen as incendiary. It was intended to illustrate how the association between sexual attractiveness and a certain type of Christianity appears in Dr. Grudem’s book. My analysis is that he has associated sexaul attractivion with complementarianism for a reason, but not a reason found in scripture.

    So I concede that this comment was possibley incendiary. Now I ask for proof that I have written a fallacy. If I have not said something untrue then I would like the accusation retracted.

    Thank you Christopher for attempting to intercede. I hope that this makes my position clearer.

  54. Bryan, you said,

    “It can be shown that Junia was considered an apostle”

    Bryan, it cannot be shown that Junia occupied a role of leadership in the Church, that is only your assumption and preference, nothing more.

    “that there were women prophets in the early church”

    Absolutely, no one has denied that there were women prophesying, but nowhere does it say anything about them occupying any leadership role in the Church.

    “and women also did teaching (including men like Apollos).”

    The only teaching by women was in private, (and in the case of Apollos the husband was present as well), or to women. There is no record in the Bible of women teaching in the Church or publicly to men

    “These are what Paul over and over shows to be leaders in the church in both Ephesians and Corinthians.”

    Paul shows nothing of the sort, this is the sort of wishful thinking that distorts what Scripture actually says or in this case bares no relation to what the Scripture says at all.

    You also said “Glen all you are saying is that I or any others are unable to provide evidence that personally satisfies you.”

    Actually what I am saying is that you are unable to provide Biblical evidence – period.
    I have asked you to show me where in the Bible it states that women are included in the leadership of the Church. All you come back with is your personal preference, nothing more.

  55. Suzanne,

    Thanks for this most recent comment.

    Having seen the context of the statements to which you refer, I do not find Grudem’s comments out of place. I am sorry if this disappoints you.

    Further, I have heard Grudem in person and been very impressed with his fair and extremely thorough presentations.

    Finally, people who know him personally, and whom I respect very much, have the highest respect for Wayne Grudem and consider him to be a very godly man.

    I am sorry that you do not appreciate his opinions. I think I understand your position, and I respectfully disagree.



  56. Whatever Glen. As we’ve both seen this really gets us no where. We’ll go round and round in circles but it seems like this ends up being who can get the last word or out last the other in posting. I’ll let you have it. Thanks and have a good one.
    Bryan L

  57. Actually Jim, now that Suzanne mentions it, how would you explain that chart in Grudems book. I looked at it and it is a bit disturbing. I keep feeling like I’m misunderstanding the place of the egalitarian column or what Grudem is trying to say with that chart. Is it representing egalitarianism in general society or in the church? If it is in the church then it’s incredibly disturbing that he would characterize egalitarians the way he has and put what he sees to be extremes in this column. Please help me to understand what Grudem means with that chart (specifically the Egalitarian charts) and what worth it carries in that book?
    Thanks Jim

    Bryan L

  58. Dr. Hamilton,

    I really appreciate your post on women in the ministry, specifically since I am a student at SWBTS and the whole issue of Dr. Klouda is abounding. I consider myself to be complimentarian, but have not yet taken a view with respect to women teaching in a seminary or Bible college. Your response to question eight made a lot of sense. The problem, however, was your response to question nine as it relates to women who contribute to ministry and the theological spectrum through writing. You make it clear that based on the 1 Timothy 2 that the issue of authority over men applies in a worship setting. The seminary and/or Bible college, however, is not a worship setting. There seems to be inconsistency in this view. It would appear that if a woman cannot teach theology then surely she is unable write about theology, for writing is a method of teaching. Also, one can be authoritative through their writing. For example, if I was to preach a sermon or write an exegetical paper on 2 Corinthians my authority of course would be the Bible, but in the process of studying the text I would be subject to the scholarship of Margaret E. Thrall. It seems that she would have much authority over me during the exegetical process. Thank you for your contribution on this subject and time that you spend on responding.

    Thanks again,

    Cory Thompson

    P.S. my good friend and fellow seminarian, Lewis Richerson, says hi!

  59. Jim,

    I just listened to one of Dr. Grudem’s talks that you sent me privately by email. I notice that he clearly says that we know that Adam had leadership over Eve because he was created first. And that was it – that was his argument from the OT.

    However, women were first at the tomb. And prophets are specifically listed as preceding teachers in list of the gifts in Corinthians.

    So women have priority in time in proclaiming the risen Christ. And prophets have priority over teachers. Women are prophets. Open up to the whole testimony of the scriptures. Make an level path of the word.

    And philanthropy means to love humans while philandry means to love ones man.

    Anthropos is ‘man’ as opposed to beast or gods. Anthropos and wife is like farmer and wife, American and wife, missionary and wife. The expresssion anthropos and wife does not make anthropos mean masculine.

    I ache for the day when Bible students will get back to the classical love of languages for their own sake.

  60. Cory,

    Thanks for your note, and thanks for the hello from Lewis. What a guy!

    The key thing here is that the Seminaries are training pastors. In our current setting, much of the teaching and training of future pastors/elders that should take place in the church is happening instead in the Seminary.

    This means that what is tolerated in the Seminary will inevitably be tolerated in the church. If we want women teaching men in church, let them teach in Seminary. If we don’t want women teaching men in church, we’ll have to draw that line in the Seminary.

    As for authority, the authority that the church has goes beyond the authority that a book has. The church can (and should) discipline people for theological waywardness. That is, if a person comes to the settled conviction that he doesn’t agree with the doctrinal statement of the church with which he is in covenant, he should resign his membership. If he doesn’t do so, if the church is aware of his settled conviction against the position of the doctrinal statement, it should vote to exclude him from membership.

    A book has only the power to persuade. It has no members it can excommunicate.

    Similarly, a sermon delivered to the congregation in person has a more direct authority in one’s life than does a written piece. If I fundamentally disagree with something I read, I shrug it off. But if I fundamentally disagree with something my pastor preaches from the pulpit, that’s not something I can just disregard.

    I think the school made the right decision, and whatever the publicity may indicate, this is the position held by the majority of my teachers at SBTS. So SWBTS is not standing alone on this one.

    Hope this helps!


  61. Suzanne, you said,

    “Anthropos is ‘man’ as opposed to beast or gods. Anthropos and wife is like farmer and wife, American and wife, missionary and wife. The expresssion anthropos and wife does not make anthropos mean masculine.”

    You are joking right? You do not seriously expect this to pass for logical thinking, do you?

    I think the expression ‘clutching desperately at straws’ comes to mind in regard to this.

    The examples given in my earlier comment clearly demonstrate that, in context, there most definitely is a masculine component to anthropos.

    Just to clarify, no one is saying (apart from Suzanne’s insinuations) that anthropos only means a masculine component, but that in context it does have a masculine component.

    I realise that this is unacceptable to Suzanne, but that does not change the easily demonstrable truth of a masculine component (in context) to anthropos.

  62. Thank you Bryan for demonstrating so clearly that there is no biblical evidence for the inclusion of women in leadership of God’s Church.

    If there were you could have simply stated it, but all you came back with was personal preference and opinion.

    Again, thank you for proving my point for me so eloquently.

    God bless you to Bryan

  63. Hey Glenn,

    Just wanted to point out that there are many of us who would not agree with one aspect of your statement on anthropos. I would argue that there is “always” a masculine component associated with the word. Though I do admit the word is often used inclusively referring to men and women. When the word is being used inclusively it is demonstrating the biblical worldview of men representing women.

    As such the context only lets us know if the word is being used exclusively, as in “behold the man” or inclusively, as in “men of Israel.” Either way, there is always a very real masculine component that can not be overlooked. I would say the same for adelphoi as well.



  64. Christopher,

    What are your credentials in claassical and Hellenistic Greek? You are betrayng a thoroughly novel interpretaion, an imaginative interpretation that bears no relation whatsoever to the original languages.

    Do you think Greek did not have a way of saying human?

  65. Susan,

    I said two things in my comment to Glenn. First, the semantic domain for the word anthropos includes both an inclusive use (a collective sense as in our English: man or mankind) and an exclusive use (a non-collective sense meaning a male human being). Thus far I think you would agree with me.

    Where things get sticky is my claiming that the word always has a male marker, even when used collectively. I can’t possibly substantiate such a claim in a forum like this. But I will point to a couple of reasons why I hold this position.

    First, classical Greek is not my primary guide when reading Paul or any of the other New Testament authors. As many modern scholars have pointed out, the Greek we find in the New Testament is not only vulgar, but Hebraic throughout. That is, it is highly influenced by the Hebrew language and mindset. It also appears influenced by the LXX which often abandons Greek syntax in preference for the Hebrew it is translating (see Karen Jobes and Moises Silva: Invitation to the Septuagint).

    So, the question for me is, “When the Hebrew word adam or the Greek word anthropos is used by a Hebrew, would it be divorced from his overall worldview?” I don’t believe it would. And so here we are again at the nub of our communication breakdown. From here, you go one way and I go another. This is not a novel or imaginative interpretation. It is simply the way such words are used in patriarchal contexts.

    Not that the Greek speaking Hebrews did not have any way to refer to all of mankind without using male marked terms. One that comes to mind is the word sarx, “All flesh is like grass.” There are likely better words out there, but you’re right, I’m no Greek scholar and my command of the language is poor.



  66. Christopher,

    In many languages there are words for man and woman, and another word for human. The human may be presumed to be male unless otherwise declared, but specifically the word had a different meaning than the word for man.

    English did not have this third word “human” as a noun, in common use, when the Bible was first translated into English.

    So two completely different words in Greek and in Hebrew were always translated by the one word ‘man’ in English. This gave the impression that the meaning was similar to the word ‘man’ a male, in English. It was a misunderstanding. In this case it was impossible to make a literal word for word translation to English because of this situation, two Greek or Hebrew words and one English word.

    However, now modern literary Jewish translations, ie Alter, and some other translations are beginning to use human for adam and anthropos because this is correct. Later there is the concept of male and female introduced by other words. I am not arguing about whether Adam was male or not – I am saying that he was described as human.

    In ancient literature, the divine-human contrast was extremely important and that is the concept the scriptures is communicating. This human-divine distinction had priority over the male – female distinction. Adam was called by the name of his species, human, not masculine. We can also talk about whether he was masculine, but that is another discussion.

    When the ESV uses man for anthropos which it often does, it gives up on its attempt at a literal translation. There are only a very few situations where anthropos should be translated man, and this is usually in the case where it refers to a named man who is being introduced into the story, not a person who is being qualifed by this word.

    So with Christ, he became human for us humans, not masculine for males, not masculine to be a sexual being for women.

    In case you might think otherwise, I studied both classical and Hellenistic Greek extensively before reading the NT in Greek. I am not unfamiliar with Septuagint literature. Students are not allowed in Hellenistic Greek classes in the university without studying Hebrew first. We had to take a gospel and work through all the Hebraisms in it. My prof is now the editor of the New English Translation of the Septuagint.

    I have personally discussed all this with Dr. Packer, who preferred to use the word ‘man’ in the older sense in English, ie mankind. This is different than male, and is not duplicated in Greek, this is old fashioned English and has no significance in Greek – none.

    I am trying to explain that the semantic domains of Greek and Hebrew words do not match English. While sarx can mean human nature, it does not change the meaning of anthropos, a human, although the default human is male. But anthropos refers to an ordinary human and stresses the weakness of humans, the vulnerability and low stauts of humans. Aner usually means the male of status. The problem is, of course, that aner (pl) can also be used simply for people, a group of men and women. This is something else which Dr. Grudem missed but it is in the Liddell Scott Lexicon as ‘aner meaning man as opposed to gods’ with a reference. I can’t really say why he missed this.

    I do not see why people with no intense language instruction and background would set themselves up to contradict 2000 years of understanding. It would be easier just to read Luther’s translation and see that, sure enough, there are two different words, one for man – Mann and another for human – Mensch.

    Would you take the constitution of the United States and say that because women could not vote the word ‘person’ defines the male. Does the word ‘person’ have masculine semantic content or only contextual masculine content? Think about it.

    I can only say that I regret to see the many misunderstandings that have arisen in the vacuum of a strong classical and Near Eastern background.

  67. Suzanne you said,

    “Adam was called by the name of his species, human”

    This really wont do you know. This is an example of your imposition of a concept that you would prefer were so, as opposed to a factual reality.

    In the past you have contended that ‘anthropos’ had no male overtones at all and yet now you say – “There are only a very few situations where anthropos should be translated man….”

    This is a major paradigm shift from your normal position on ‘anthopos’ and I was curious as to what prompted this seismic event.

  68. Glenn,

    As I said ‘American’ in certain contexts implies a male, ‘American’ does not have male as semantic content. I will announce my own paradigm shifts, but people could read the BADG lexicon instead and see that I am consistent.

    The two best translations for Adam are ‘an earthling from the earth’ or a ‘human from humus’ – it is a play on the word earth in Hebrew. Maybe Jim would care to confirm that.

    Christopher was optimistic in hoping that I could express these things in some way as to make them understood. It is difficult to take monolinguals into the multilingual world.

    Thanks for your vote of confidnece Christopher but I don’t see that one can shift a male who believes himself to be ‘ít’ into some other position.


  69. Suzanne,

    You are well aware that the example you give has nothing to do with the uses of ‘anthropos’. A very weak attempt at ‘smoke & mirrors.

    The examples that I gave previously clearly and unambiguously show that ‘anthropos’ in context means ‘man’ (masculine not generic). Your attempts to imply only generic non masculine usage does not hold up in the spotlight.

    The really good thing about this is that people can see the weakness of your reasoning from your own words and from that same source can see that you are clutching at straws.

    Sad to say, but your consistency extends to what you exclude as well.

  70. What I would like is to see people learn to read the language and learn to use the lexicons.

  71. Suzanne,

    Are you suggesting that those who disagree with you cannot read the language and cannot use the lexicons?

    You repeatedly cite Wayne Grudem’s statement that he learned something new about the use of the word anthropos. He then acknowledges that he has to adjust some things he has said. Can you give him no credit for acknowledging that he made a mistake and adjusted his position accordingly?

    Is it possible that he might be right in general though he was wrong on that particular, and that now that he has recognized where he was wrong and corrected himself his position is even stronger?

    I maintain that you are neither fair nor charitable to those who disagree with you. This will not prompt us to take you seriously.

    Again, I say this in sincere concern, and I wish you every blessing in Christ Jesus,


  72. Susan,

    English had no word for human? Person and people would have to be very close synonyms even in your dictionary (see Susan, Response to Christopher above, paragraph 12, “Does the word ‘person’ have masculine semantic content…?”). It was not “impossible to make a literal word for word translation.” Tyndale had a command of the English, Hebrew, and Greek languages that you (and all your linguistic buddies) will never live up to.

    And I think it is cool that he made the text available so that even a simple plow boy could see through the errors of the scholars.



    By the way, no, the word person does not have any masculine semantic content. Therefore we ought to use the word “man” to translate adam and anthropos. Let’s use the closest English equivalent.

  73. I am no way qualified to comment on or interject into this discussion on language usage. It seems, though, that the original intent of this posting has veered away from the main point – God gives equal worth to men and women but different roles. I am not a language scholar, but I can read trustworthy translations and see instructions given to me, a single women, on how I am to conduct myself. I pray that the Lord will show me how to respond in certain situations, how to respond in ways that are honoring to Him and point people to Jesus.
    Certainly it is important to understand Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic as translations are done. But it is the Holy Spirit working in believers that points out the Truth. There are believers who cannot read God’s Word, either because they are illiterate or there is no Bible available in their own heart language. Those believers, just as much as any language scholar, can understand the Truth of Jesus Christ. They can see inherent differences in men and women and know that God gifts us in different ways. They don’t need a lexicon to know that!

  74. Jim,

    You seem to understand what I mean. Yes, some people do not bother to read the lexicons and they don’t read the biblical languages, as languages, but only in the context of the NT whcih they have already learned in English. Not enough.

    When Tyndale translated the NT, the word ‘man’ in English was used to translate two Greek words, anthropos and aner. This is because the word ‘person’ had a different function in English than anthropos has in Greek contexctually. It was, however, understood that ‘man’ in English had two meanings. Today, we now use the word human for this. YOu cannot make English and Greek line up, unfortunately.

    But the German and the Latin also distinguished humans and men.

    Christ was human, that is what anthropos means and I have never yet heard of a biblical scholar who disagrees. I think Jim acknowledges this. The layperson is misled by the ESV.

    Specifically, 2 Tim. 2:2 is also a mistranslation in the ESV. It should be people and when the KJV used ‘men’ it meant men and women – men generic. It did not use men to show that men represent women. The Greek has two different words for men and human. Any attempt to construct theology from English is a misapprehension. Any attempt to construct the meaning of anthropos from English is a misunderstanding. You need to learn the Greek language first and then read the NT in Greek.

    Now, Jim you acknowledge that Grudem misunderstood the word anthropos. But he wrote all his theology before he was corrected on the meaning of both ‘adelphos’ and ‘anthropos’. He has never understood ‘aner’. Grudem also has not referenced the UBS for Junia. Dr. Grudem acknowledges that he used the RSV exclusively before working on the ESV revision.

    I have not brought up the problems with Phoebe, Nympha, Lydia and Deborah in Grudem’s books because no one acknowledges the more obvious problems in Grudem’s work. If these were acknowledged I would mention the others. His work is weaker not stronger than ever before.

    I think that a reading of Luther would clear this matter up. What is needed is a parallel text, with Hebrew, LXX, Vulgate, Luther, Tyndale, KJV and Robert Alter/Fox. This would certainly be enlightening. I work routinely with more than this, but this would be a start.

    I really don’t see serious work done in the history of translation.

    What I do see is people recommending Dr. Grudem’s books which is like recommending a chauffeur who drives on the freeway without a driver’s license. He acknowledges that he makes errors, that he doesn’t bother with lexicons at the appropriate times, he is very humble, BUT his humility does not license him to dictate to people how to draw lines on his lists of what women can and can’t do. He does not have a degree in the biblical languages. That is a fact.

    First of all is the shame and disgrace that women can’t teach biblical languages. But second that men, with less qualifications, can not only teach, but draft guidelines, and edit Bible translations which women are expected to adhere to.

    Bonnie J,

    Are you implying that men are naturally more gifted in languages than men? You would be flying in the face of all research if you say this.


    Adam means ‘from the earth’, a ‘creature of the earth’. If women are from heaven then so be it, the earthy is male, if that is what you want. I personally believe that men and women are both made of the same matter, and both are dust, as the scriptures teach. What are your thoughts on this?

    My God wrote a Bible about God and humans, yours about men and women.

  75. Susan,

    Adam is the name given to man. I don’t see the preposition M affixed to the name; so technically, I can’t see how you get “from the earth” as it’s meaning. It is true that Adam was given the name Adam because he was taken “from the earth,” but that’s not what it means.

    Another reason I love to loathe the learning of the linguists is because they use data so selectively. Why such stress here on HA’ADAM means earthling because he was made from the HA’DAMAH. If one were to stress the fact that HA’ISHAH is so named because she was made from HA’ISH, we would hear a whole bunch of objections as to the play on words that were adopted years after by Moses and we shouldn’t read too much into it.

    The reason woman is not named Adam is that she is not taken or formed from the earth, but from the side of Adam. Eve is only adam to the extent that she was taken out of man, subject to man, and represented by man. Here is a question you have a ready answer for, “Why is it that the word adam and anthropos are almost never used of a group consisting of women only, (I’m sure it’s probably happened somewhere, but I can’t find it) but these same two words refer to groups made up exclusively of men often?”

    It seems to me, unlike the English word human, that the semantic domain for adam and anthropos were so marked by the masculine that they could not easily be used to refer to women. Now, interestingly, we have a similar word in English: man. It has been used for centuries both specifically (male human being) and collectively (a group of men and women), but is so marked by the masculine that it can not easily be used to refer to a group of women.

    And hence, I maintain we ought to translate adam and anthropos with the English word man.

    Last night, just for your sake, I pulled down my 1st Edition Baur, 2nd Edition BAGD, and 3rd Edition BDAG and read through the entries for anthropos. I saw nothing that would require me to change my mind, though some of the updates between the editions were interesting.



  76. Christopher,

    Unfortunately, I am moving and all my lexicons are unavailable at the moment so I cannot quote or discuss the numbered meanings in BADG.

    However, I am sure you know that ‘homo sapiens’ is the name of the species, not that name of the sex. ‘Homo’ is ‘anthropos’- we, men and women, are indeed the same fallible species in the sight of God, and from that should come our companionship, to be side by side – not over and under, not first and second, not leader and follower.

    If women were followers, then the single woman would be rudderless. Instead, single women have contributed in missions side by side and territory for territory with men.

    In Canadian Baptist missions in the 19th century, there were brothers and sisters who both trained as medical doctors, and each one managed their own hospital, each walking through the night through their own jungles. They defied tradition to serve God. These are the true Baptist women.

    In the 19th century women joined the university and devoted their participation in a formerly men’s world to their service for God. These are the daring feminists whom we women should emulate – women who dared to serve God, and not man. God wants our best, both men and women. Any attempt to disempower women and keep them from exercising their natural gifts. is IMO an act against God’s will for his world.

    May woman give their all to God and disregard the lists of minor scholars. Women should demonstrate courage for the world and not think only of how they can lift up men. Women should be feminists for God and disregard those who restrict women. Feminists in the sense that Catherine Booth was a feminist and Florence Tim Oi.

  77. Suzanne,

    Wayne Grudem has a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Cambridge, and I believe his supervisor was C. F. D. Moule, whose Idiom Book of New Testament Greek has been in print from Cambridge University Press since 1953. The volume is in its second edition with a bunch of reprintings. Does this count as a degree in biblical language?


  78. Not really. But I have it from many others that a degree in New Testament is not the same thing as a degree in the Greek language. The NT is a contained text which the reader already knows in English. Anyway, I have never met anyone who studied NT Greek, per se. Maybe Hellenistic Greek, which is a large corpus, or classical ,even larger, but no, I don’t actually know anyone who just studied NT Greek. I have not been to seminary.

    To study a language one must be confronted with material for which one has not previously seen a translation every day for several years. This is the usual process. Anyway it just renders the whole thing all the more unthinkable, why would someone with these credentials not use a lexicon.

    Not that lexicons are infallible but they are a good place to start. I am involved sometimes with forensic translation issues and the research is intense. To just puttogether a few ideas about men and women and draft a paper without research would be unimaginable.

    Have you seen the Christian Schotannus lexicon? It offers ‘Christianus’ for ‘adelphos’ among five other possible words, such as relatives and kin.

  79. Suzanne – I have reread my comment, and I fail to see where I even remotely suggested that men are naturally more gifted at languages than women. Actually, in my experience as a missionary, women tend to pick up language much more quickly than do men and tend to be quicker to hear nuances of expression.
    My comment referred to men and women being of different roles but equal worth. Knowing a language is not a role. To teach is a role, but one must clarify – to teach ___? I teach ESL to adult men and women, but in reading Scripture and from the counsel of those I respect, I do not see that this violates my Biblical role. If, however, one of the men in my class expressed an interest in Christianity, I would direct him to one of my male colleagues for further study and discussion.

  80. Adelphos =
    1. a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother
    2. having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman
    3. any fellow or man
    4. a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection
    5. an associate in employment or office
    6. brethren in Christ
    1. his brothers by blood
    2. all men
    3. apostles
    4. Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place

  81. Bonnie,

    You write that men and women have inherent differences and different gifts. What gifts were you thinking of?

    The only differences that are relevant to leading or serving Christ that I can think of are that women are possibly more gifted in languages. I am not aware of any other inherent difference. What were you refering to? Are men more gifted to teach Greek and Hebrew and women more gifted in French and German. I am at a loss?

  82. Interesting Suzanne,

    So you think that a gift for languages is necessary or relevant when it comes to serving Christ. I can’t find that one in the Bible nor can I find it listed as a requirement or advantage when it comes to leading either.

    Of course the Bible does have some very clear things to say about requirements for leadership, but as they don’t agree with your personal preferences I suppose you will continue to ignore them.

  83. Glenn,

    Let me clarify. I do not think that men have less talent for languages. Not at all. I am of th opinion that men are equal to women inherently. But when someone else talks about the inherent differences, and they are obviously not talking about childbearing, and they are talking about Christian service then I have to ask the question, what are they talking about, what other difference is there except for the much discusssed scientific difference that males acquire language later than females.

    To clarify, I disagree with Bonnie. I think that men perform less well in language learning anecdotally, because first there is a societal expectation that they will. But most of all they are more self-conscious, unable to give up the boundaries of self that is required in becoming a language learner. But that is not lack of natural facility. I could be wrong, in any case, there are still many men who are good at languages, maybe I am just lucky!

    But this is not my issue, as I said I do accept men as equals. My issue is this, – what are the inherent differences between men and women, that teach us that men and women must be compelementarian in their church interaction. Not childbearing which is restricted to the family, not sexual tendencies and weaknessses as Mary Farrar writes about – that too does not make men completely unfit for Christian service, what is the inherent difference that makes men more fit? I ask this as an honest question?

    But to me, God asks us to offer our humanness to him. I do not believe that there is an inherent difference in men and women in the church. I do not believe that women are less gifted for leadership, since most complementarians will acknowledge that women can lead in business and government. So there is no inherent difference there.

    I ask honest questions. One of them would be – if women are better at languages, why are they not allowed to teach languages in a seminary? Isn’t this contrary to nature? And if men are equal to women, then why discuss the inherent differences between men and women. Once again – what are these differences?

  84. Suzanne – the only sentence that I can see you are taking issue with is this one – “they can see inherent differences in men and women and know God gifts us in different ways.” Perhaps it would be more appropriate if I had phrased it – “They can see inherent differences in men and women and know that God assigns to us different roles.”
    God does gift us all in different ways. God does give different roles to women than He does to men.
    There are inherent differences between men and women. I am not a woman because of cultural conditioning. I am a woman because that is how God designed me.

  85. Bonnie,

    I am simply asking what those differences are which you refer to since I originally assumed that you were talking about the slower acquisition of language attributed to the male. You seem to agree with this and in fact put more emphasis on it than I would have.

    If this is so then why are women disallowed from teaching biblical langauages in seminary? That is after all what the current issue is all about.

    I don’t dipuate that God designed men and women with differences. I dispute the fact that these differences keep a woman from teaching Hebrew when she is allowed to teach English. Is a woman allowed to teach Hebrew if she is Jewish? If she lives in a country where Hebrew is spoken? Is there an inherent difference which makes a woman not able to teach Hebrew as a biblical language.

    What about Greek? Could a seminary hire a woman to teach classical and Hellenistic Greek but not New Testament Greek? The woman would have the higher academic task, but not impinge on the actual teaching of scripture. But who would teach the man who taught New Testament Greek?

    I am truly puzzled by your words. I would like to reiterate that I personally consider men on average equal to women.

  86. Bonnie,

    I am slow – you mean that the roles themselves are the gifting of God. Where in the Bible are roles called gifts? Teaching is called a gift, but there is no inherent difference between men and women when it comes teaching. The gifting for these roles are not obvious. Women are not gifted with submission any more than men are gifted with self-sacrificial love. If they were we wouldn’t need magazines like the JBMW.

    I am still puzzled.

  87. I want to respond fully to you but a short answer is – I don’t think anyone has disputed the ability of women to teach various languages. The particular issue to which you refer is if it is biblically appropriate for a woman to teach men a language in a seminary where part of that instruction includes teaching theology.
    Suzanne – I am in not qualified to debate you, and I wonder if you will take anything I say seriously without picking it apart word by word. I have no desire to have an endless debate with you (or with anyone else, for that matter.) You are more “degreed” than I am and more experienced in researching these issues. I can only tell you what I have learned and seen.
    I think where we are having our communication challenges comes from our individual, foundational understandings. Yes, men and women are of equal worth before God. Being a woman does not make me less in the image of God or less able to receive salvation or less gifted or less anything. Being a woman does, however, mean that God has given to me a different role than He has given to men. God’s Word gives me specific instruction regarding my lifestyle and conduct. In many places of the Bible, this instruction differs with the instruction given to men. It is not appropriate for me to have particular positions of authority over men, usurp the role of a husband or father, and so on. I am to live with a gentle and quiet spirit, be a good homemaker, and so on.
    My understanding is that God does gift men and women with some of the same gifts, but how those gifts are to be used varies.
    The point is not what I would prefer to do or what I think I should do. The point is – what does the Bible say my role is to be. I could say that I want that I want to have a pastoral role in my local church. Just because I want it doesn’t make it biblically appropriate.
    Suzanne – I am a single, never-married woman in her 30s. I face these kinds of decisions every day in choices I need to make, and it is not easy. My intention is not to sound smug or self-righteous. I am working out these issues in my own life with “fear and trembling,” wanting to do what is right before the Lord. I would rather err on the side of caution in submission.
    Certainly there are men and women who are too extreme on these issues, on both ends. That is not relevant, however. What is relevant is laying one’s life, one’s heart before the Lord and asking Him to show any areas that are prideful, deceitful, or confusing. He will reveal that to us. He will show us (sometimes painfully so, I’ve learned!) where our actions or attitudes do not measure up to His words.

  88. Bonnie,

    I understand that you are saying that gifting has nothing to do with it after all, and that women can teach a biblical language in a university but not in a seminary. But most universities began as seminaries. This distinction is just over 100 years old.

    So God is different today than a hundred years ago? Is his purpose newly revealed for women every 100 years. Is that what this is about.?

    I wrote this recently. Is this how you understand it?

    “A woman may teach a teenager Greek and Hebrew. (IMO that is the optimum time to learn these languages.) A woman may teach a man French or German. A woman may teach a man grammar and composition. A woman may teach a non-Christian man Greek or Hebrew. A woman may teach the biblical languages if she does so in a secular university. A woman may teach a man Greek or Hebrew if the text being studied is not the Bible. A woman may write about Greek and Hebrew. A woman may be quoted by a man on Greek and Hebrew. A woman may teach a man Greek and Hebrew if she does so in another country, not her own.”

    These are a lot of rules intended to keep some women from doing what they love to do. It will at least keep some women, even women who are the main bread winners for their families, from doing what they love to do – as a living.

    Don’t delete this, Jim. Please. Please. Please.

    I will write again with many wonderful examples of women over all the centuries who preached and taught men, and God blessed them and their families. Jim has deleted it but I will try to rewrite a slightly edited version – maybe he will accept that.

  89. Suzanne,

    I notice that the basis for your applications is not the Bible but your personal preference.

    Whenever a response is made and it bases its conclusions on what God has clearly declared in the Bible you seem to ignore that.

    The Bible (being Gods word) has unambiguously declared leadership to be male, not because men are better than women, but because that is the way God wants it. It is also the created order (again Gods decision)

    You seem dangerously close to saying that you know better than God or conversely that God got it wrong. Either way you are on dangerous ground

  90. Glenn,

    I don’t think my point is so much who has leadership ie power and all that. That seems to be the preoccupation of certain groups.

    I try to focus on whether the scholarship itself is accurate. If it isn’t, then it really doesn’t matter who it favours. It is just popular commentary and not binding. That is my impression from the books and studies I have read by authors I won’t mention. They simply don’t line up with lexicons, other texts, background data, etc. They are not good research.

    There may possibly be scholarship supporting male leadership. Then why not focus on that? Why are so many unscientific studies produced? Why are they recommended? And if they are problematic regarding the biblical text why can’t I question them?

    But the Bible is clear that God has given first apostles, then prophets, then teachers, this is clear, and it needs to be dealt with, not swept under the carpet. The Bible is clear that if there is no Jew and Gentile, then there is no male or female. They are on the same basis,

    We must deal with the whole counsel of God, with Junia, and Phoebe and Philip’s daughters, and Nympha and Lydia and Priscilla. Also Deborah, Miriam and Huldah. Why give women the impression that they are only wanted to teach the non-sacred subjects, when that is not the teaching of the Bible? That devalues women and the church.

  91. Bonnie,

    I have tried several times to write another comment that was friendly to you, remarking on the similarities in our backgrounds, you and I. Unfortunately Jim has deleted all of them. By doing that he misrepresents me.

    I hope that you will let this stand, Jim, so that Bonnie knows that two thirds of my comments are being deleted.

  92. Suzanne, you know full well that i was not referring to any ‘commentary’ I was/am referring to clear teaching of scripture regarding who God wants to lead His church.
    There is “scholarship supporting male leadership”, but the important point is that the Bible supports it and it does so unambiguously.

    I was referring to when you ignore that clear teaching from scripture.

    Okay, lets cover old ground quickly once more – Deborah did not fulfil the role of Judge in the same way as the male Judges.
    Miriam led the women and when she (along with Aaron) tried to usurp Moses God judged them.
    Huldah did not exercise any authority over men, the word sho brought was done so in private.

    All the women that you mention from the NT are given no connection to leadership roles governing the Church whatsoever. I know you and others try to make a big thing of Junia, but as the scripture is so clear on leadership being male it is impossible for Junia to have held Apostolic authority. Your desire for it to have been otherwise does not override the teaching that is clearly there concerning the limitation of leadership to men.

    The reference you make to “no Jew and Gentile, then there is no male or female”

    (From Barnes Notes On The Bible)
    “It does not mean that no respect is to be shown to those in office, or to people in elevated rank. It does not mean that all are on a level in regard to talents, comforts, or wealth; but it means only that all people are on a level “in regard to religion.” This is the sole point under discussion; and the interpretation should be limited to this. It is not a fact that people are on a level in all things, nor is it a fact that the gospel designs to break down all the distinctions of society. Paul means to teach that no man has any preference or advantage in the kingdom of God because he is a rich man, or because he is of elevated rank; no one is under any disadvantage because he is poor, or because he is ignorant, or a slave. All at the foot of the cross are sinners; all at the communion table are saved by the same grace; all who enter into heaven, will enter clothed in the same robes of salvation, and arranged, not as princes and nobles, and rich men and poor men, in separate orders and ranks, but mingling together as redeemed by the same blood, and arranged in ranks according to their eminence in holiness.” (From Barnes Notes on the Bible)

    You cannot take this verse – Gal 3:28 – and use it in support of your preference, it doesn’t wash.

    It is you that devalues women when you try and teach them to ignore the clear teaching of scripture. It is you that is trying to set up a false dichotomy and twist scripture to your own purposes.

    Also nothing is being ‘swept under the carpet’, it has been and is being dealt with openly, fully and clearly.

  93. Suzanne, If you’re comments continue to get deleted then why don’t you try to take the discussion elsewhere where you’re comments won’t continue to be deleted. Pick a different place. I’m sure those willing to discuss this won’t mind moving. It’s not like Jim’s really chiming in anyway so there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to stay around on this blog.
    Just an idea.

  94. Bryan and Bonnie,

    Thanks, you’re right. I was primarily trying to respond to Bonnie, but it seems that Jim will not allow that.

    So Bonnie, my regrets, there are many things I wrote that have been deleted, especially the part about how I am also an ESL teacher and probably don’t have more degrees than you.

    I will not be taking this back to the BBB at the moment. However, these topics will turn up there in some form or other in the future when they are relevant to translation and biblical languages.

  95. Read the story of Eta Linnemann in this issue of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood with the knowledge that this woman gave up being a professor of theology to teach the Bible to native pastors in a third world country.

    Thanks for giving me the heads up for this story Jim.

  96. Suzanne and any other women reading this series of comments (or men since reading is a non-directive activity 🙂 – God gifted you with intelligence. It’s okay for women to be smart. Abigail is noted for her intelligence. What we have to work out under the authority of God is how we are to use this gift. How do we make wise choices? How do we daily live in a way that glorifies God? Are we willing to submit to the authority of God’s Word?
    As I said earlier, certainly there are men and women who take extreme positions on these issues. They perhaps set up unbiblical barriers or proclaim false freedoms for women. Those people are not our authority though. They may exasperate, irritate, or befuddle us, but they are not the ones to whom we must give an account.
    About eight years ago, I noticed that in my devotional time, I was reading two or three verses of Scripture and a couple of pages of a devotional book. God convicted my heart of being more eager to hear what a commentator said over hearing what He said. That same principle can be applied in all areas of theological study. Commentaries are great tools, but they cannot replace God’s Word. They are merely comments on what God says.
    So, for all those women reading this – thank the Lord that He gave you your mind. Use it. Submit to Him.

  97. Suzanne,
    Why do you always ignore the Bible when it is raised in refutation of your misapplication of scripture?
    When challenged by the word of God you always ignore it and act as if the comments were never made.

  98. Suzanne,
    I am sure there were good reasons for Jim deleting your response (whatever that may have been)

  99. Suzanne,

    What about the verse about casting pearls before swine?
    Know what I mean??

  100. Please note that my argument is cultural not scriptural

    I read your previous argument about Women as Elders , which unfortunately is closed to further comment. As I was reading this post and the comments I thought to myself you could just have easily substituted any of the following Blacks/Coloured/Negros, Divorces, Irish, Poles, Japs etc.

    It’s a simple fact of life that the church reflects the values of the world. I’ve been a christian long enough to remember when divorce was the greatest sin a Christian could commit. Talk to many older Christian divorcees and they will all tell you about being shunned and kicked out of their church for committing the sin of having a bad marriage. Today can you imagine that happening? My family attends a very conservative Christian church and they now will allow divorcees not only to remarry but the senior pastor will often do the ceremony. A real sea change from 25 years ago when my wife and I got married.


    I also don’t buy the leadership submission thing because it’s been to often abused. Yes I realize it’s scriptural and many Christians have shared what the biblical version of submission is nothing like what we experienced. But I can’t get over the fact anytime a chruch has taught submission it has led to abuse. The shepherd ship movement in the 70s is a very good example.

    It has taken my Wife and I almost 25 years to recover from the spiritual abuse we suffered at the hands of a Pastor who taught “deeper” word. Yes everything he taught was scriptural, he after all used to be Seminary professor yet absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I remember our church (at the time Cambridge Vineyard) hosting seminars on Recovering from Spiritual abuse. One has to wonder why churches would need to do that.

    In my opinion when it comes to leadership and submission the church is better off leaning to the liberal side than the conservative side, if for no other reason than Christians are human and sinful by nature.

    Seeing as the owner of this blog is quick to delete posts he doesn’t like I re posted this comment on my blog, not that it matters if it gets deleted no one will notice I posted

  101. Jim, I’m adding a comment very late in the game! I’m grateful for your providing a forum for spirited dialogue and discussion on these important issues.

    I noticed that in footnote 34 of your paper you wrote “Wayne Grudem’s work on the word kephale (“head”) remains unrefuted,” and I was a bit surprised.

    After all, when one of the doyens of NT scholarship like Howard Marshall suggests that “the debate has not been closed by the work of Wayne Grudem…,” it gets my attention. So I would like to commend several other recent articles presenting a different perspective from Grudem.

    • I. Howard Marshall’s 2004 article, “Mutual Love and Submission in Marriage: Colossians 3:18-19 and Ephesians 5:21-33,” pp. 186-204 in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy, eds. Ronald W. Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis and Gordon D. Fee.

    • In the same volume, Gordon D. Fee’s “Praying and Prophesying in the Assemblies: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16,” pp. 142-160 has a significant section on the meaning of the metaphorical use of head in 1 Corinthians 11:3.

    • Gordon D. Fee, “The Cultural Context of Ephesians 5:18-6:9,” Priscilla Papers 16/1 (Winter 2002): 3-8.

    • Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NIGNT, 2000), pp. 812-822.

    • Ben Witherington III, The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles (Eerdman’s Socio-rhetorical Series of Commentaries on the New Testament, 2007), pp. 316-335.

    • Richard B. Hays, in The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation. A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics, pp. 64-65, acknowledges that while “the conventional authority structures of the ancient household…are left in place” they are, however, “subverted” by Paul.

    • Tucked away in Michael J. Gorman, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (2001) is an excursus on “Cruciform Love in Ephesians, with Special Reference to Ephesians 5” (pp. 261-267) that grounds the entire discussion about marriage “in the larger context of the letter and what it says about the fundamental responsibility of believers to one another: self-sacrificing, mutually submitting love.”

    Gorman’s brief explication of what Paul meant by “be filled with the Spirit” shows how Paul gives definition to the verb “be filled” by following it with a series of participles that unpack its meaning: “speaking to one another…singing and making music…giving thanks…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” In other words, part of “being filled with the Spirit” (v. 18) involves “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (v.21), which is then unpacked for both wives (vv. 22ff.) and (surprisingly) husbands (vv. 25ff.)

    I am amazed that discussions of Ephesians 5 so frequently focus on the question of authority rather than on Paul’s radical call to mutual, self-giving love . . . as cruciform followers of our crucified Savior (which is made explicit in the immediate context: 4:32, 5:1-2, 25). That is, I believe Paul is not asking the question “Who is in charge?” but rather “Who is willing to sacrifice having your own way and instead put the needs of the other person before your own, following in the footsteps of Jesus at the cross?”

    • Finally, in grateful memory of distinguished New Testament scholar David M. Scholer (1938-2008), whose homegoing just last month brought to my mind his thoughtful advocacy of the ministry of women as evidenced in the New Testament record as well as his courageous battle with cancer, I would also commend:

    • David M. Scholer, “The Evangelical Debate over Biblical ‘Headship’ ” – a 1994 essay accessible online at .

    Thank you, Jim, for allowing us to “agree to disagree.” Perhaps, as we discuss these important issues from differing perspectives we can all come to appreciate the wisdom in John Stott’s observation that “Life is a pilgrimage of learning, a voyage of discovery, in which our mistaken views are corrected, our distorted notions adjusted, our shallow opinions deepened and some of our vast ignorances diminished.”

    Grace and Peace,


  102. You can follow Saul. You can follow Joseph Smith. But you deny that the Lord lives in the born-again. The Lord is not your God. So you can follow a false teacher and not know the Lord… and take a great big 666 on your forehead. Because Saul told you that YOU are the very Image and Glory of God in 1 Corinthians 11:7 ~ and you wanted to believe him. You wanted to be God ~ the very equal of God the Son. You wanted to be Christ. You wanted women to worship and serve you as their God. And so 666 is yours ~ the number of a man who thinks he’s “the head” of a woman as her little god.
    You have earned your 666 loving the writings of a false prophet who told you the Glory of God was yours to rob and steal as you preferred Lucifer to the Lord ~ and so you let a false prophet lead you by the hand to line up to have 666 stamped on your forehead.
    Pride came before your fall.

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