Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why women should not preach.

"For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." 1 Timothy 2:13

I cannot think of better reasons. I think this verse also nicely bludgeons the view that Paul was speaking to a local problem only. Obviously it was a local problem. But it was a local problem conditioned and actualized by a universal problem: here being the particular depravity of women ("it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner"). Obviously, any woman or man who has bought in to the modern egalitarian construct will be emotionally upset and outraged at me saying this. If they are, they should sincerely question whether they have allowed their emotions to get in the way of an honest exegesis of this text.

There are two consequences in effect from the creation epic, both of which are binding on the church community. The first is revelatory: Adam was created first, then Eve. The second is hamartiological: It was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. Because this is so....because the Pauline and Jamesian anthropology does not alter the basic sinfulness of man in the community of Christ but underscores it ("Through the law we become conscious of sin..") there are consequences to ecclesiological ordinances which continue to stand under this situation. Eve was created to be a helper, not a leader of Adam. For Paul, placing a woman as the leader or "Father" over the church through the gospel is to essentially deny that the Work of God in the beginning was "Very Good". It can thus only be a testimony of blasphemy rather than of Christ. Secondly, placing a woman as a leader over the church will have disastrous effects on the community because the woman is essentialy "deceived" and the quintessential sinner. She was so quickly led astray by the devil into disobedience of the Word before....how much more in the age of sin will she fail at keeping the community safe from the devil? Indeed she will not, because she stands over and against the Very Good work of God by taking on the position of a leader as opposed to a helper, and because she is in and of herself deceived and a sinner.


Theophilus said...

If women should not preach, as you say in the title of the post, why did Jesus charge women with being the first proclaimers of his resurrection? I cannot accept your conclusion because it makes Jesus out to be a sinner.

Also, do you read verse 15 similarly literally, so that women are saved by bearing children, notwithstanding that this appears to be a case of salvation being justified by works?

Emerson Fast said...

There is a vast difference between going out to proclaim Christ's resurrection and receiving the ordinance of "bishop" or "shepherd" or "teacher" of God's Word. All of us must go out and testify. Following your logic, Christ is then validating that all of his disciples be bishops....which would make a joke of the NT.

And yes, I read verse 15 literally.

Emerson Fast said...

Although I would disagree that a "literal" read of verse 15 validates works righteousness?

Theophilus said...

That's what I was checking: Whether or not you believe that women are saved through childbirth. That's a work. If it is a requirement for the salvation of women, you believe in salvation by works. Looks like you aren't too comfortable with that; neither am I.

My comment was more aimed at the title of the post, which was about preaching, than about the office of bishop/presbyter/overseer/shepherd/etc.

Emerson Fast said...

Oh I have no problem with women "preaching". They are portrayed as prophesying in Acts and in the Annunciation of Luke, which goes beyond mere exposition to the actual declaration of God's Word!

As for the "childbearing" concept, I think Paul is literally referring to the "born of a woman" tradition quite disseminated throughout the early church. It is perfectly appropriate and necessary to say that women are saved through child-bearing, LITERALLY. Irenaues caught on to this in his interpretation of Eve being the "last Mary".

For Paul, "childbearing" is essential and decisive for salvation. For us too.

Anonymous said...

The woman might have been deceived but the man deliberately chose to sin making him a sinner also. God held him just as accountable in Genesis.

Though I struggle with women pastors, I don't agree with your sinner logic.

Emerson Fast said...

"And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."

This scripture is not a blame-game, and I do not think it opens up room for either women or men pointing fingers at each other. The issue at hand is pure order. Woman is the being who was deceived and became a sinner. Adam's aquiescence and deliberations in this respect are secondary, though they certainly have enough wretched consequences of their own.

I stand by my view that woman is the quintessential sinner. "became a sinner" in verse 14 stands in direct contrast to Adam at the beginning of the verse, which already requires that we distinguish our hamartiology between genders.

Anonymous said...

Please read the following scripture passage from Judges 4 and let me know your thoughts... I feel your blog comment was quite ignorant of biblical history...

4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

She sounds like a leader, blessed by God to lead his people... explain why this "phenomenon" cannot be repeated in today's churches.

Emerson Fast said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emerson Fast said...

It most certainly can be repeated, in the political sphere where Deborah held court.

The role of the "Sopetim" in Israel's history is judicial and international. I'm sure Paul would have no trouble seeing women carrying on judicial work. Especially women to whom the Word of God has been entrusted. Those make for the best sorts of judges.

We should not, however, equate political positions with ecclesiastical ones. There is no legitimate correlate between a "Judge" and a "Bishop" in the scriptures, at least as far as I am aware.

Theophilus said...

The judges are at least sometimes religious figures, with roles in religious leadership. Deborah was herself a prophetess, for instance. Also, given your recent enthusiasm for Christendom and its inherent lack of distinction between religious and state matters, I would think you would understand well the theocratic/ecclesiocratic nature of Israel's governance. Deborah's position of political leadership should be assumed to be one of religious leadership as well, with the burden of proof falling on those who would suggest otherwise.

Emerson Fast said...


I have no trouble with women "prophesying", a function and office which do not require any formal positions of leadership within the ecclesial structure. Deborah's religious qualities in this respect complement her ability to judge Israel, but I still see no correlate between this situation and the situation of the church of Jesus Christ, unless you are willing to introduce the political aspect to your definition of a bishop. But why stop there? Deborah summoned the tribes of Israel to battle against the Goyim and called down curses on those who resisted. Shall we appeal to Deborah in order to formulate an argument that churchly religious leaders ought to be envoys of modern warfare?

Those who use Deborah as evidence in the "female pastors controversy" are cherry pickers par excellance. They have abstracted a single quality from this sacred figure (her gender), grafted it into an ecclesial situation that has no visible ties to politics or theocratic governance, and ignored the rest of the story with a tight conscience! This is terrible exegesis.

My enthusiasm for what Murray calls "Christendom" is not pointed at the idea of a bishop or pastor or overseer or elder amalgamating his role with that of a prime minister or judge or mayor. The two spheres must be distinguished at all costs.

Amélie said...

I don't understand how order of creation indicates hierarchical rank. In Genesis, plants were created before sea animals, and sea animals were created before land animals. Animals were created before mankind. Please explain why order of creation doesn't imply supremacy of beast over man, but it does indicate supremacy of man over woman.

As for the word "helper" (the Hebrew word "ezer") used in Genesis 2:18, it is used a few other times in the Old Testament... to describe God. Like in Deuteronomy chapter 33:

29 Blessed are you, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the LORD?
He is your shield and helper (ezer)
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will tread on their heights.

Does that mean that God is our helper, not our leader?