Friday, June 19, 2009

Women and the Pastoral Office.

1 Tim. 2:11-15 (ESV)
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. [12] I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. [13] For Adam was formed first, then Eve; [14] and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. [15] Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
The often ignore infallible scripture. Women are not to teach, at least not in a public way, or one where they would be exercising authority over a man. This prohibits them from being pastors. It is a pastors job to teach. Quite possibly the most important criteria listed for pastors in the pastoral epistle is the ability to teach. Women are not to teach, therefore they cannot be pastors. I find it shocking how many different “evangelical” churches touting biblical inerrancy when it comes to things like creation feel completely free to ignore this all together. Of course it is nothing new, the reformed tradition which spawned the Arminian, and later the evangelical movement is famous for ignoring what scripture actually says, while at the same time touting its inerrancy and infallibility.
Then you always hear the argument that they preach so well. By what criteria? I don’t care if they can keep my attention. I don’t care if they can mouth the gospel. They undermine the Gospel by their very presence in the pulpit. Effectively they say God’s word is not God’s word, or we are free to pick and choose what we want to believe or not to believe. It is also telling that the acquiescence to feminist movements in the church has coincided with the exodus of men from the pews.
When Paul talks about man being created first then the woman, he is hinting at more than an arbitrary argument for the supremacy of man over women. He is really getting at the root of the way men and women are wired. You see it in the curse of Adam and Eve. That the woman’s desire will be for her husband, and he shall rule over her. Men chafe at being led by women (something the U.S military ought to consider a little more.) Women are much more willing to follow a man, than a man is to follow a woman. Oh, men will put up with it. Men will in some circumstances go along with it. But it isn’t something that men naturally do. It seems also that men are much less willing to go along with this in spiritual matters. (Temple prostitution being the exception. Men are quite willing to exploit women in the name of religion, which goes to show how sinful we are.)
The fact that Paul says they are to learn quietly and submissively though hints at the form of the sermon in the early days. Very rarely was it anything like what we have today. It was more of a question and answer format. Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t do well to bring that back. The sermon was conducted in almost the same way that Bible Studies are done today, but without hand outs. They were then all extemporaneous to some extent. Possibly, it was that the sermon opened with a monologue, but then there were questions which would follow. Women were to remain quiet, and not take over the class with questions, trying to usurp the teachers place. Men were allowed to ask and comment. Well if we did do that, church would maybe be a bit more exciting.
The fact that women are saved through childbearing is not a statement that women are to be barefoot and pregnant and earn their salvation. Paul is hinting back at the curse of the serpent, which consequently becomes the first utterance of the Gospel. The woman is saved through the bearing of children, because it was her seed that bruised the head of the serpent. Mary had to give birth to God in order that God could take on human flesh and save all of mankind.


Brigitte said...

Shall I beat Nancy to it?
Can we still comment on your blog or shall we just read it? :) (pushed out lower lip)

I think sometimes that men are better at the Gospel. Sometimes, they have rebelled more, chafed under the law more, hated their pedagogues more, fallen harder, not measured up to stereotypes of manhood enough, desired their independence and freedom more, they know the gospel better, as in KNOW.-- Or maybe, just differently. Because, we love Jesus, too.

When someone approaches me with a problem, my first reaction is to explain something to them, to give them some good advice, and some more advice... Maybe, that's my job. It's not wrong. Maybe that's really caring. I do try to listen first. I really, really try to listen first.

To begin and end and in the middle and all the way through tell them about God's love and forgiveness--is not natural to me. Of course, it's what they need to hear. I want to hear it. In fact I learned it first from my mother, via a song/prayer written by--a man.

As Cwirla puts it today: the mother makes sure the bicycle helmet is on and puts on the bandaid after the fall, but the father goes out and buys the new bike that's wanted (saying, in essence, you fell, you're hurt, here's your new start. I'm drawing the connection.)

Bror Erickson said...

I might have been more clear about this, but the prohibition against teaching is actually one of a prohibition against public teaching, especially where men would be subject to the authority of a woman. This effectively places everything in the context of the Divine Service and the pastoral office.
I will be amending the blog post appropriately in this regard. Of course, women do, will, and can teach but not in the Divine Service, and not in a way that carries the authority of the pastoral office. The example of Priscilla is a good one in this regard. Acts 18. It is interesting that she is mentioned first. It indicates that she may have been the instigator, and possibly a bit more theologically astute than Aquilla her husband. She in any case was involved in the correction of Apollos, but they did so privately.

Brigitte said...

Yes, I know that's what it is supposed to be and I am more or less teasing about it.(I have never desired to stand in the pulpit). (By the way do you know we have another Bo Giertz today?) It does get fuzzy sometimes though and that's why we're always talking about it. At Bethel it's about women helping with serving communion, for example, which I'm sure you'd disapprove of.

Bror Erickson said...

Yes I would dissaprove of that.