Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

***Working to be a safe place for all sides to share.***


Friday, November 28, 2008

Blog reopened

The Complementarian blog has reopened for business at a new location and with some new rules. Please join us at the new Complementarian blog. Please be sure to read today's post on the new blog in which I explain how we will try to keep the blog going safely.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another blog decision time

The Complegalitarian blog has reached another crisis point. The level of civil discourse has again degenerated to the point where we need to stop and decide if we can speak civilly enough to each other for the blog to continue. Please vote in the following poll. You may add an additional comment, if you wish. I suggest that you do not identify yourself.

Comments are closed and hidden but you can still read previous posts.

Please pray for me as I evaluate the poll results and comments added to it. I would like to continue providing a forum where we can discuss gender issues for the home and church. But I cannot do so unless we are all willing to be civil to each other.

Please keep checking back. We need a cooling off and re-assessment period. I do not know how long the blog will be down, probably at least a week. If the poll results are not adequate for continuing, the blog may be closed.

Many of you have worked hard to be civil on this blog. I thank you very much.

If you wish to email me privately about how we might make this blog safer for everyone, my email address is: wleman1949 at gmail dot com

Would you like to see the Complegalitarian blog continue?
yes, if there will be greater civility free polls

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reflecting on My First Sunday Ever With a Woman Leading

I've been attending a small Episcopal church in my area lately. This Sunday's service was led by a deacon (which is what they call a person who has graduated from the Episcopal seminary program---they serve as a deacon for a year or two, and then are ordained as a priest. Correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm very new to everything in the Anglican communion). The deacon was a woman.

I do not remember a time when I did not know that "women weren't allowed to be pastors." The church I grew up in was a conservative fundamentalist "Bible church," closely resembling Calvinist-slanting Baptist flavor, if I had to describe it. Women were allowed to be active, but only so much. For example, we had an amazing worship leader who was a woman, clearly gifted and called for the task...but on Sunday mornings, she stood off to one side, still obviously leading, and a man stood at the main microphone, singing slightly off-key, so as to keep God pleased. Women are not allowed to lead men, not even when singing.

You would think that spending the total of my thirty-three years in that kind of environment, that a woman leading a congregation would be something I would have a hard time with (or at least, REALLY notice, like, maybe stare incredulously at for awhile instead of focusing on the responsive reading). I was surprised at what actually happened. Because what actually happened was that I forgot all about it, and so did my kids---if they even noticed at all. It was only after the service, talking to my friend on the phone, that I really thought about the fact that this was the first time I've ever been in a service led by a woman.

She was obviously called to do what she was doing, much like the music leader of my childhood. It just felt right to have her there. There was nothing to stare at---she was obviously gifted and responding to her position felt completely normal. It would have felt silly to have a man standing up there as a figure head, to keep God happy, while she spoke and while she led the Lord's Supper---just as it always felt odd to have an "un-called" man up front singing, off-rhythm and off-key, while the woman beside him was clearly leading and clearly supposed to be.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Both Biblical and Egalitarian

Rebecca Groothius recently blogged that one can be a Christian egalitarian without following the politics of feminism. In her first major point she writes:
Biblical equality is not equivalent to the politics of feminism (the incessant rhetoric of patriarichal-complementarians not withstanding). Rather, biblical equality seeks to understand and explicate biblical teaching regarding the mission and meaning of women and men in the family of God. The question specifically at issue is whether or not the believer’s authority in Christ is conditioned by the gender of the believer. Feminism, on the other hand, is fundamentally a political and cultural agenda. The question of a woman’s biblically-based authority in Christ is not a question that concerns culture at large, but is rather a biblical and theological concern. Thus, a biblical egalitarian is not necessarily a feminist, and a feminist is not likely to be a biblical egalitarian.
How do you think that Christian egalitarians diverge from the politics of feminism?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Differences Between the Genders

Gender Differences in Pain Sensitivity

Boys dominant-dependant, Girls intimate-dependant

Men more likely to hiccup, women more likely to receive negative feedback from others if they are aggressive

Wiki on the history and concept of gender roles

Boys and girls brains are different

Regardless of scientific findings, gender stereotypes continue

Boys brains are bigger

Testosterone shapes brains, women encode memories differently than men, says MRI

Plan your head injury around your gender

Men and women respond to stress differently (MRI scans say)

Boys brains develop along the same lines as girls, only slower (so educate accordingly)

These are just a handful of studies and articles I found while googling. Whether the studies support an egalitarian or complementarian views is up for grabs, but at the very least, firming up *actual* vs. *perceived* (or ignored) gender differences is a benefit to those on all sides of the spectrum.

The comments box is open for comments, as usual, and also for references to studies you've ran across. Plus, if you cite studies that are proven cross-culturally, you get bonus points. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Strawman "Sameness"

To all those who claim that egals spout sameness,

I don’t know where you heard this from but it appears to be a strawman (empty caricature) that gets presented for demolition every now and then. So go ahead demolish it. I’m right there with you. It’s not our strawman. I don’t know who he belongs to.

Christians who believe in Biblical equality do not believe men and women are without innate differences. We do not wish for men and women to look or act alike. We do not wish for Christians to all look or act alike. Thank God He made men and women different. But let’s not paint all men blue and all women pink trying to emphasize the differences or make new differences. God did a fine job that doesn’t need improving upon.

OK. End of rant! ((SMILES))

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thinking Again about 1 Tim. 3:1-7

I always find it interesting how we arrive at our conclusions. Do we take into account the differences of languages. When there is a question do we do some research on the original language. By research I do not mean checking Strong’s (the least accurate ‘dictionary’), but looking in as many Greek-English dictionaries we can and checking to see what various scholars think. Do we consider history and culture of the time? Do we check what the early churches were doing 300-600 years later? Are we on the alert for idioms? Do we consider the differences in Greek thinking and Hebrew thinking of the Biblical era? Or do we just believe our local leaders because they are leaders and should know. Are we open to the possibility that no one may know the answer to our questions for certain because it was 2000 years ago and some things have changed beyond comparison?

1 Tim. 3 starts off with pistos ho logos – faithful is the saying. And continues with ei tis – if anyone (anyone means ANYone, not just men) – episkopE oregO kalos ergon epithumeO - supervision is craving, of ideal work he is desiring.

OK, so the faithful saying (is that referring to a local well known saying, a slogan or colloquialism?) is that anyone who desires to minister in supervision is desiring a good thing. Its ideal work; it may even imply that it speaks well of the person who desires to serve thus. So, if someone wants to serve thus, we should be proud of him/her. They deserve a pat on the back for such servantmindedness. Yet, many today would say that if a woman desired to serve in her church in either supervision or ministry (diakonos = transliterated today as deacon), people assume and infer that she is seeking to grasp power. But Paul specifically said “anyone who desires”. So what do we make of that.

Then we have a list of qualifications for those who are desiring the good work of supervision.

Bruce C.E. Fleming in “Familiar Leadership Heresies Uncovered”, lists the furst 12 qualifications as such:

1. Above reproach – the overarching requirement
2. Faithful spouse – as applicable, some were single
3. Temperate – self-controlled (cf. Titus 2:2,5)
4. Sensible or sober – found here and in 2:9a, 15b.
5. Orderly – also used in 2:9a, 15b
6. Hospitable – a wordless ministry (1 Peter 4:9-11)
7. Apt at teaching – ministry of the word (2 Tim. 2:24)
8. Not excessive drinker – or not quarrelsome over wine
9. Not a striker or not pugnacious or a bully
10. Forbearing or gentle – (Phil. 4:5)
11. Uncontentious or not a brawler – (Titus 3:2)
12. Not-avaricious or no lover of money (Heb. 134:5)

Verses 4-7 are qualities showing spiritual maturity:

1. one who leads, manages, guides own household (proistemi – before standing, leading, presiding)
2. having own children in subjection with gravity
3. not a novice (lest he become puffed up with pride and fall into condemnation)
4. having a good testimony (reputation) among unbelievers (outsiders) so as not to fall into disgrace and a snare of the devil.

If we look at the qualities as a list we see they are a list of inner, spiritual characteristics that every believer should aim for. Even being an apt teacher is something every believer can achieve as they mature in their relationship with the Lord. Let the older brethren minister to the younger, let us look out for one another, etc. is a common theme in Scripture. It is not terribly difficult to look up the meanings of words, do the cross references and see this is a reasonable list we can likely all agree upon with the exception of one phrase in vs. 2.

Interpretively translated as ‘husband of one wife’ in most bibles, the Greek is simply “of one woman, man” – heis gunE anEr. Different church denominations and different nations have interpreted this differently. Some have said it meant one had to be a husband, but it seems to me to be a really circuitous route to say that, plus there is nothing anywhere in the Scriptures that requires one to be married in order to serve the Lord. Another meaning has been that a man must have only one wife versus two or more wives, yet while this is a reasonable requirement for ANY married man, it is not one addressed as such in Scripture elsewhere. Another interpretation is that a husband must have married only once, not divorced and then remarried. This I find very far fetched as there were specific requirements for divorce both before and after Christ and divorce was not considered a stigma against the divorcee. And then we have the interpretation that because it is mentioning a husband, then it must mean that one who wishes to be an overseer must be a man. However, taking that interpretation would also mean tagging all the other ideas of being married, and not twice, and having only one wife versus two or more, along with it. But the direct problem with that interpretation is that it would make Paul first words of “anyone who desires” of non effect. It is my opinion that we should read the Scriptures in such a way as to not “strike out” things in other parts of Scripture. If we understand Scripture correctly, it should not be a matter of striking out or nullifying other parts but of all fitting together in a reasonable manner.

”According to Lucien Deiss (notes to the French
Bible, the TOB, Edition Int├ęgrale, p. 646, note a), this
Greek phrase was used in Asia Minor, on both Jewish
and pagan gravestone inscriptions, to designate a woman
or a man, who was faithful to his or her spouse in a way
characterized by “a particularly fervent conjugal love.”

When I read Deiss’ comment about how this phrase
was used on ancient grave inscriptions in Turkey, where
Paul and Timothy ministered, I confirmed it with him
myself, reaching him by telephone in Vaucresson, France.
Some might find this insight into 1 Timothy 3:2
surprising because modern versions of the Bible
translate this Greek phrase as – “husband of one wife” –
making this qualification appear to be restricted to men
only! Instead, rightly understood, this qualification is
about faithfulness in marriage by a Christian spouse. It is
not saying that oversight is “for men only.”

Pages 87-88
Think Again about Church Leaders by Bruce C. E. Fleming (Think Again Series)
or pg 128 in ‘Leadership Heresies””

So, I’m only addressing one question of why some think women cannot be elders or deacons. I’ve shared a few of my reasons why I say that Biblically women can serve in any ministry. My question to you is how do you arrive at your conclusions for this section. How do you take into consideration chapter One and Two. How about chapter Four where Paul is admonishing Timothy not to neglect his gift (11-14). How about chapter Five where Paul speaks of elders (neither male or female) presiding well (proistEmi).

Perhaps, someone can look up proistEmi, episkopE, and presbuteros and tell us what they find.

Please share what you think.