Please Don't Throw Tomatoes!!!

If you've not been following the blog for the past two days, I recommend going back to check out Wednesday's post and Thursday's before diving in. I'm also asking that you read these and consider the content with a heart of grace. I'm fully aware this is a LOADED topic. MANY will disagree with what I've presented, and you know what?

I'm okay with that. I'm not asking you to adopt this position. I'm just asking you to prayerfully consider what I've presented with a gracious heart ... AND please don't throw any tomatoes (or messy verbal jabs)! The evangelical world is clearly divided over this issue—and hey, at one time I was fairly neutral on this thing—until I dug into the Word for myself. Here's all I'm asking: read, consider, pray, and respond graciously.

Yesterday we ended with this verse and question:

"I want women to adorn themselves ... as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet" (1 Tim. 2:9–12).

What??? Why??? What does he mean ... remain quiet?!

The Greek word translated "quiet" here can mean "silence" or "quietness" in the sense of "peaceableness." We can safely assume the second meaning, because of the allowance for women to speak publicly in prayer and prophecy (truth-telling) in 1 Corinthians 11:5.

Paul's reasons for the 1 Timothy 2:12 restrictions were NOT:

Cultural—there's no mention of this. Christianity's reputation was one of valuing the feminine gender).
Biblical illiteracy—education was offered to men and women alike in the New Testament church (Acts 18:26–27; Rom. 16:1–2).

What was Paul's reason for this prohibition?

He points us back to the created order. God's order of male leadership—given before the fall of man! "For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve" (1 Tim. 2:13).

You see, the authority structure God implemented at creation, which placed man in the leadership role as husband and father—reflecting Christ's role of headship over the church (Eph. 5:22–33)—would be negated by placing women in spiritual authority OVER men in the church.

"Whoa! Wait a minute," some of you may be saying at this point. "Does Scripture back up this claim anywhere else?"

Scriptural examples for women functioning under male leadership in the church:

  • Women are allowed to speak, to pray, and to give prophesy (1 Cor. 11:5) but are restricted from public speaking that would serve in a ruling or governing function over men within the local church (1 Tim. 2:12–13).
  • The passages listing the qualifications for elders (bishops, pastors) assume this office is reserved for the male gender (1 Tim. 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9).
  • Male leadership is the pattern seen in Scripture:
  • Home structure (husband and father).
  • The 12 apostles were all male (Matt. 19:28; Rev. 21:14).
  • The Head of the eternal church is male—Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 1:22, 4:15, 5:23; Col. 1:18).
  • No female pastors, elders, or leaders functioning in an "elder-type" role are listed in the New Testament.  

Okay, so I've laid out this messy issue before the blogosphere, and I'm preparing for all kinds of reactions. But please know that I count each one of you as dear to Christ's heart and dear to me personally—no matter where you land on this issue. If we can agree on who Jesus Christ is, on His atoning work in our lives, and the authority of Scripture, we can have sincere love and fellowship as sisters in Christ—even if we are on opposite sides of this issue.

What do ya think?

About the Author

Kimberly Wagner

Kimberly Wagner

Kimberly Wagner is the author of Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior and is a frequent guest on Revive Our Hearts radio program, as well as a regular contributor to the blog. Kimberly's passion is Christ and she … read more …

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