Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Are The "DISRUPTIVE" Women?


Grudem responds with the following:“Answer 7.4b: This passage requires women to be silent with respect to the activity under discussion, which is the judging of prophecies…what is the topic under discussion in the context 1 Corinthians 14:33? The topic in verses 29-33 has been prophecies and judging prophecies, beginning with verse 29, ‘Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.’ In fact, verse 29 is a general principle about prophesying that divides itself into two halves, with (a) the first half talking about prophesying (‘Let two or three prophets speak’) and (b) the second half talking about judging those prophecies (‘and let the others weigh what is said’) (233).

Let me say first off, as I’ve said in other blog posts, that I’m not a masculinist (for all men), but I’m not feminist (for all women) either. I believe that God calls both sexes and uses both male and female for His glory.
In this post, I’m dealing with the response of Wayne Grudem (as I’ve done in other posts). While Grudem tries to remain theologically conservative (which is what I am as well), he and I differ when it comes to the giftedness of men and women in ministry. As a result of his inherent bias, Grudem tends to make “simple” mistakes in his interpretations, even when he tries to uphold the correct position theologically. Grudem interprets 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 to say that women should be silent when prophecies are being judged.

But Grudem’s position is all based on 1 Timothy 2. In fact, at the end of his answer against the egalitarian position that complementarians are inconsistent in their application of this text, Grudem states, “This passage is consistent with other New Testament passages THAT RESERVE THE TASK OF TEACHING AND GOVERNING THE WHOLE CONGREGATION TO MEN” (235). Lest someone think I’m too paranoid with Wayne Grudem (and could use a “chill pill”), note Grudem’s argument after the above answer:
“It is not surprising that Paul would say only men can give spoken corrections to prophecies. Such correction is part of the task of ‘TEACHING AND HAVING AUTHORITY’ over the congregation, the task that Paul reserves for men in 1 TIMOTHY 2:12. For Paul to restrict this ‘doctrinal guardianship’ job to men is entirely consistent with what he does in 1 TIMOTHY 2, and also consistent with his expectation that elders are men (“husband of one wife” in 1 TIMOTHY 3:2; Titus 1:6; compare ‘men’ in Acts 20:30)” (235).

Did you notice that the ENTIRE final comment Grudem makes with regard to the egalitarian claim, involves 1 Timothy 2 and the offices of teacher, elder, and pastor? The passage of 1 Timothy 2 seems to be Grudem’s response to everything. Nevertheless, let’s look at the letter of First Corinthians itself to see how Grudem’s bias stacks up.

The context of the letter, starting in chapter 14, is the public church setting. Notice that in 14:23 Paul writes about the condition of “if the whole church assembles together…” Verse 26 shows the interaction that believers have in the gathering: “What is the outcome then, brethren? WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
In verses 27 and 28, those who speak in tongues and interpret are being addressed. Verses 29 and 30 refer to those who prophecy: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.” Here, the prophets are the ones speaking—but ONLY THE PROPHETS can pass judgment. This is reinforced in verse 32: “and the spirits of the prophets are SUBJECT TO PROPHETS...” Here, only those who prophesy are those who get to judge the prophecies.
But if we don’t read the passage carefully, we’ll miss something. Let’s read verse 32 in context with verses 33 and 34:
“32and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33for God is not a God of (BC)confusion but of peace, as in (BD)all the churches of the (BE)saints. 34The women are to (BF)keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but (BG)are to subject themselves, just as (BH)the Law also says.”

If we look at these verses from Grudem’s standpoint, then women are not to judge prophecies. But….WAIT A MINUTE! Didn’t Paul say in vv.29-30 that the “others,” being OTHER PROPHETS, could pass judgment on prophecy? And if Paul said that prophets could pass judgment, doesn’t that INCLUDE WOMEN? For Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11 that “5But every (I)woman who has her head uncovered while praying OR PROPHESYING disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is (J)shaved” (1 Corinthians 11:5, NASB).

The issue at the church involved WOMEN WHO PROPHESIED, so women were also involved in PROPHESYING and JUDGING prophecies. The problem with the women of verse 34 is that they were not prophets, and were asking questions regarding prophecies. Grudem states that the women were not supposed to judge prophecies (233), but if women were prophets, then wouldn’t that include women among those WHO JUDGED PROPHECIES? Grudem fails to take the context into account and simply ends up with the idea that women can’t judge prophecies because of a “1 Timothy 2” bias. As I’ve stated before, in Grudem’s eyes, this passage is the “goal” of all the others: no matter what the other passages say, they will always have to conform to 1 Timothy 2 (which Grudem interprets incorrectly).

Last but not least, “judging prophecies” IS NOT why Paul reminds women of what the Law had to say about being silent in church—but their asking questions is! And this is why Paul issues the suggestion in verse 35 that if the women wanted to learn what was being said, or what revelation was being given, they were to ask their own husbands at home. Notice that Paul doesn’t discredit their wanting to learn; he just simply suggests a more civil and organized way to allow them to ask the questions of which they desired to know answers. If Deuteronomy 27:9 was one of the verses in the Law that Paul appeals to, then being silent and listening to God speak would have been to be quiet and listen to the prophecies being made and judged. The women asking questions were not prophetesses (who would have understood prophecies and judged them), but instead, women who didn’t understand what was being said (or simply had an enquiring mind about something that was said).

Context is key to any passage—not just on the subject of men and women in ministry, but on all other subjects of the Bible as well. Grudem butchers context in order to save his own gender bias of women in ministry. If context is discarded for "proof-texting," then ANY passage that says ANYTHING can be used out of its situation at any time...and I shudder to think of what the outcome of our churches may look like in the future...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Disruptive Corinthian Women? (Continued)

“Answer 7.7b: This theory says Corinth is a special situation, but Paul applies his rule to ‘all the churches’…according to this view, noisy women were a special problem at Corinth. But Paul says, ‘As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches’ (1 Cor. 14:33b-34), and there are strong reasons for thinking that even though the phrase ‘as in all the churches of the saints’ comes at the end of verse 33, it really modifies ‘the women should keep silent in the churches’. And even if someone thinks that phrase goes with the preceding sentence, Paul still says, ‘the women should keep silent in the churches’. Thus his rule cannot be restricted to one local church where there supposedly were problems” (Grudem, 245).

Yes, this theory makes much sense. God as a “God of peace” is a universal, timeless truth that needs no “as in all the churches of the saints.” However, when Paul uses this, he is referring to a rule in the churches. This, however, is evidence he uses in addition to God’s character. Because God is a God of peace, and the churches have a rule regarding silence, then the women are not to disrupt the worship services. Grudem, however, is wrong because he makes the women the only ones in the church that are supposed to be silent. Note that Paul doesn’t just cover women in 1 Corinthians 14: he also addresses those who speak in tongues (v. 27) as well as those who prophesy (vv.29-31) (before he even addresses the women).

“Answer 7.7c: This ‘noisy women’ theory does not make sense of Paul’s solution’. If women were being disruptive, Paul would just tell them to act in an orderly way, not to be COMPLETELY SILENT…If noise had been the problem in Corinth, he would have explicitly forbidden disorderly speech, not all speech” (245).There is a problem with this statement: he claims that Paul now requires the women in Corinth to be “completely silent”—a few pages earlier, on page 232, Grudem writes the exact opposite of what he says here on page 245: When responding to the egalitarian claim that complementarians are not consistent with their application of 1 Cor. 14:34-35, Grudem responds, “The passage NEVER DID REQUIRE COMPLETE SILENCE of women”! (232). How can the passage require complete silence but not require complete silence at the same time? Grudem’s attempt to “forge” the complete silence of women on the basis of this passage demonstrates that he has an inherent gender bias against women.

“ ‘Answer 7.7e: Paul does not give noisy women as a reason, but gives the Old Testament law’…Paul therefore gives “the Law” as the reason for his statement, not noisy women’” (Grudem, 246).
Grudem now says that the Law is why Paul writes the church; but is this correct? As I argued earlier, Paul had ways of reminding the church about things he had mentioned before; but the only reason why he brings the Law into play is because of the disorder in the church. The Law is not the reason he writes—the situation is. The Law is not the REASON, but the SOLUTION, to the problem at Corinth.

Grudem then cites Craig Keener as an authority on the so-called “myth” that “women were
seated separately from men in early synagogues and churches, and this made it likely that women were shouting questions across the room to their husbands” (243). Keener says that “there is no historical evidence to support the idea that women sat separately from men, either in synagogues or in churches” (243), and that separate seating didn’t occur until the Middle Ages (244). But the problem with this theory is that we have evidence of separate seating dating from as early as the fourth century.

Along these lines, an ancient document, called the “Apostolic Constitutions,” dates from the late fourth century. While it dates 300 years later than Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, it is one of the only remaining ancient documents we have regarding the history of the early church. See the following (taken from
LVII. But be thou, O bishop, holy, unblameable, no striker, not soon angry, not cruel; but a builder up, a converter, apt to teach, forbear-ing of evil, of a gentle mind, meek, long-suffering, ready to exhort, ready to comfort, as a man of God. When thou callest an assembly of the Church as one that is the commander of a great ship, appoint the assemblies to be made with all possible skill, charging the deacons as mariners to prepare places for the brethren as for passengers, with all due care and decency. And first, let the building be long, with its head to the east, with its vestries on both sides at the east end, and so it will be like a ship. In the middle let the bishop's throne be placed, and on each side of him let the presbytery sit down; and let the deacons stand near at hand, in close and small girt garments, for they are like the mariners and managers of the ship: with regard to these, let the laity sit on the other side, with all quietness and good order. And let the women sit by themselves, they also keeping silence.
In the middle, let the reader stand upon some high place: let him read the books of Moses, of Joshua the son of Nun, of the Judges, and of the Kings and of the Chronicles, and those written after the return from the captivity; and besides these, the books of Job and of Solomon, and of the sixteen prophets. But when there have been two lessons severally read,
let some other person sing the hymns of David, and let the people join at the conclusions of the verses. Afterwards let our Acts be read, and the Epistles of Paul our fellow-worker, which he sent to the churches under the conduct of the Holy Spirit; and afterwards let a deacon or a presbyter read the Gospels, both those which I Matthew and John have delivered to you, and those which the fellow-workers of Paul received and left to you, Luke and Mark. And while the Gospel is read, let all the presbyters and deacons, and all the people, stand up in great silence; for it is written: "Be silent, and hear, O lsrael." (2) And again: "But do thou stand there, and hear." (3) In the next place, let the presbyters one by one, not all together, exhort the people, and the bishop in the last place, as being the commander.
Let the porters stand at the entries of the men, and observe them.
Let the deaconesses also stand at those of the women, like shipmen.
For the same description and pattern was both in the tabernacle of the testimony and in the temple of God.
(4) But if any one be found sitting out of his place, let him be rebuked by the deacon, as a manager of the foreship, and be removed into the place proper for him; for the Church is not only like a ship, but also like a sheepfold.
For as the shepherds place all the brute creatures distinctly, I mean goats and sheep, according to their kind and age, and still every one runs together, like to his like; so is it to be in the Church.
Let the young persons sit by themselves, if there be a place for them; if not, let them stand upright. But let those that are already stricken in years sit in order. For the children which stand, let their fathers and mothers take them to them.
Let the younger women also sit by themselves, if there be a place for them; but if there be not, let them stand behind the women. Let those women which are married, and have children, be placed by themselves; but let the virgins, and the widows, and the elder women, stand or sit before all the rest; and let the deacon be the disposer of the places, that every one of those that comes in may go to his proper place, and may not sit at the entrance.
In like manner, let the deacon oversee the people, that nobody may whisper, nor slumber, nor laugh, nor nod;
for all ought in the church to stand wisely, and soberly, and attentively, having their attention fixed upon the word of the Lord.
After this, let all rise up with one consent, and looking towards the east, after the catechumens and penitents are gone out, pray to God eastward, who ascended up to the heaven of heavens to the east; remembering also the ancient situation of paradise in the east, from whence the first man, when he had yielded to the persuasion of the serpent, and disobeyed the command of God, was expelled. As to the deacons, after the prayer is over, let some of them attend upon the oblation of the Eucharist, ministering to the Lord's body with fear. Let others of them watch the multitude, and keep them silent. But let that deacon who is at the high priest's hand say to the people, Let no one have any quarrel against another; let no one come in hypocrisy. Then let the men give the men, and the women give the women, the Lord's kiss. But let no one do it with deceit, as Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss. After this let the deacon pray for the whole Church, for the whole world, and the several parts of it, and the fruits of it; for the priests and the rulers, for the high priest and the king, and the peace of the universe. After this let the high priest pray for peace upon the people, and bless them, as Moses commanded the priests to bless the people, in these words: "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, (1) and give thee peace." (2) Let the bishop pray for the people, and say: "Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance, which Thou hast obtained with the precious blood of Thy Christ, and hast called a royal priesthood, and an holy nation." (3) After this let the sacrifice follow, the people standing, and praying silently; and when the oblation has been made, let every rank by itself partake of the Lord's body and precious blood in order, and approach with reverence and holy fear, as to the body of their king. Let the women approach with their heads covered, as is becoming the order of women; but let the door be watched, lest any unbeliever, or one not yet initiated, come in. (4)

The above context demonstrates that men and women sat in separate seating; the laity and all others were to be quiet while the Law was being read. In addition, notice that there is Scripture used to justify quietness during the service: Deuteronomy 5:31 and Deuteronomy 27:9. Deuteronomy 5:31 says, “31'(AD)But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess.'” (NASB) Deuteronomy 27:9 says, “9Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying, "Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the LORD your God.”

I’d like to add one final word on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. We are not told by Paul what reference in the Law he was thinking of, but there are some references to being quiet in the house of God: one would have been that there is a time to be silent, and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes. 3:7). Another good reference would come from Ecclesiastes 5:1-3:
“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and DRAW NEAR TO LISTEN rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools…do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few” (Eccl. 5:1-2). Other references to silence in the Law would be Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7, and Zechariah 2:13. I will provide these below:
(a) Habakkuk 2:20—“But the LORD is in His holy temple. LET ALL THE EARTH BE SILENT before Him.”
(b) Zephaniah 1:7—“BE SILENT BEFORE THE LORD GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His priests.”
(c) Zechariah 2:13—“BE SILENT, ALL FLESH, BEFORE THE LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

We will never know if Paul had a certain passage in mind when he referenced the Law; but there's one thing we can know-- Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 14 to restore order to a church that had taken a turn for the worst in their worship services.

Disruptive Corinthian Women?

“Answer 7.7a: There is no evidence inside or outside the Bible to prove this theory. The first thing to be said about this view is there are no facts to support it. There is nothing in 1 Corinthians that says women were being disruptive. And there is no evidence outside the Bible that women in the Corinthian church were disruptive. Some people have assumed this, but their position is just that: an assumption without evidence” (243).

This is one of the passages on women that continues to be debated among believers. For conservative evangelicals, this passage is authoritative because it lies within the New Testament canon and the canon of Scripture. However, the question is not “is it authoritative?” But “how is it authoritative?” In other words, being that Scripture is the authority on all matters of life, how does 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 pertain to the modern Christian life?

First, let’s look at 1 Corinthians 14 itself to see what the text can tell us.
34The women are to (BF)keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but (BG)are to subject themselves, just as (BH)the Law also says.
35If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, New American Standard Bible).

Going back to Grudem’s theory, there is no evidence in the passage that shows there was disruption of any sort in the church at Corinth. However, once again, Grudem can be shown to lack quality exegesis as well. The above two verses have to be placed within their context, which means that we have to examine these two verses within the other verses in the chapter, verses both before and after the two above. Looking at verse 33, which comes right before this one, we read “FOR GOD IS NOT A GOD OF CONFUSION BUT OF PEACE, AS IN ALL THE CHURCHES OF THE SAINTS.” The word here for “confusion” in the Greek is “akatastasias,” meaning “disturbance, disorder, unruliness, or insurrection.” Grudem says that we can’t know of a disturbance at the church—but Paul uses a word in the Greek that means “disturbance” and “disorder”!

Next, look at verse 35. Paul seems to offer a solution to the disturbance by saying, “If they desire to ask anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” Why would he have to tell them what wasn’t proper if they were already demonstrating it? When Paul was about to leave the elders at Ephesus after three years with them, he left them with these words: “…REMEMBER the words of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:35). Here Paul doesn’t use the word “remember,” or “to write the same things again is no trouble to me…” (Philippians 3:1). Paul doesn’t use any indicators of a reminder here. It seems then, that Paul is writing to address a specific situation at Corinth among the believers there.
Verses 39 and 40 end with this discussion of order vs. disorder: “Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done PROPERLY AND IN AN ORDERLY MANNER.” Here once again, Paul is discussing order and propriety. The fact that he stresses this in the last few verses of 1 Corinthians 14 demonstrates Paul’s intention—his goal is to show them the PROPER way to have services. Notice that the “proper” manner of verse 40 matches what is “improper,” that of women speaking in the church, in verse 35.

According to Grudem: Craig Keener says in his book, “Paul, Women, and Wives,” that “What is almost certainly in view is that the women are interrupting the Scripture exposition with questions (Keener, 71)…what is the hard evidence for this? There is none. Keener bases much on Paul’s statement, ‘if there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home’ (1 Corinthians 14:35). But that does not prove they were already asking disruptive questions…it could just as well be Paul’s way of heading off any possible attempts to evade his command that women not speak out and judge prophecies in the church service” (Grudem, 243).
Notice that Grudem says “it could just as well be.” “It could be.” Grudem offers a possibility, like he accuses Keener of doing, but he offers no evidence for why his interpretation is correct. He doesn’t go back to the verses and show us why this is so. Grudem’s idea doesn’t make any sense—for example, if I walk in a room and no one is talking too loud, why am I gonna tell the audience to stop talking so loud? The only time that a person calls someone down about their voice is when the room gets “too loud,” because so many people are talking and nothing is getting heard. Paul is no different. His idea, that women were trying to disobey Paul’s command, is Grudem’s way of accusing women of something that Scripture does not say. Paul wrote earlier in the letter that “I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:1). The believers made great efforts to do what Paul had left as an example for them to do; this in fact contradicts Grudem’s response to Keener’s analysis.

In the next post, I will continue to confront Grudem’s attack of the egalitarian position on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Teaching: Manner or means? (Continued)

As established in the last post, God’s Word requires us to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ in a gentle way, not a forceful way with the intention to humiliate. Today, we’re gonna look at other New Testament examples where correction is dealt with publicly, after proper time of pointing out the sin and having time to correct it. As I stated in the last post, if the brother or sister continues to sin, then, that person must be dealt with harshly.
The first example of the New Testament we will look at in this second post on teaching will come from 1 Timothy 5:17-20. Paul here is writing about the “elders who rule well,” so he’s referring to the office of elder (not “elderly,” as in someone old in age). In verse 19, Paul zooms in on how to approach a sinning elder: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.” Paul here refers to Christ’s words about a brother or sister who sins in Matthew 18:16—“ But if he[sinning brother] does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED” (NASB). Only when there are witnesses to the evil of an elder, should Timothy (or any pastor) receive the accusation as true. Only when there are witnesses can a person be held accountable, because, if there aren’t witnesses, then the news could just be a lie or a rumor. Notice, however, that Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to rebuke the elder in public for the sin! The moment the pastor finds out that one of his church officials is sinning, it is not his job to take the person in public and make a mockery out of him! That is not what the pastor is supposed to do; instead, he’s supposed to counsel the elder about the sin issue, whatever it may be. He is to let the elder know that what he is doing is wrong, but keep it between them. After all, there is some legitimacy to the fact that Jesus knew the Samaritan woman’s sin but didn’t air the information to the disciples. Being Christ-like involves situations such as these as well.
However, there is a different tone about verse 20: “THOSE WHO CONTINUE IN SIN, REBUKE IN THE PRESENCE OF ALL, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” Notice that the elders the pastor is supposed to publicly expose are those who CONTINUE to sin, not those who sinned the first time! The purpose for so doing is “so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” When a person sins the first time, they should be “called on the carpet” about it between the elder and the pastor; but after the first time, and the second time, then it’s time for public humiliation. If an elder is allowed to sin repeatedly on a sin issue and nothing is done about it, then why will others NOT sin? After all, who will be afraid to sin if they see that someone else can sin and not be punished for it? Think about children: if one child sees his brother or sister get away with something, he will be tempted to try it to see if he can get away with it as well. That’s how it is with those in the body of Christ: if one gets away with wrong, all will want to get away with something (even if it’s a sin). The one who is punished before the body should serve as an example to the others of just how serious an issue sin is, and just how much God detests such rebellion among His people.
It’s the continuance of sin, not the initial act, that should be severely punished and paraded before the body.
Another such passage involving what to do with continued sin is Titus 1:10-16. The situation on the island of Crete was very much like the situation at Ephesus—false teaching was prevailing among the believers. Paul tells Titus of the situation in Titus 1:10-11—“For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” Paul is aware of the current situation at Crete: prophets are teaching things that are wrong because of greed. They know what they are doing, but they are doing it for personal gain. Their motive is selfish and destructive. They are looking out for themselves, at the expense of the unity of the body of Christ. Paul shows us the knowledge of these false prophets: “One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. For this reason REPROVE THEM SEVERELY so that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:12-13). Here the prophets prove that they know the truth and possess knowledge of the truth: they actually said something about the Cretans that was true. Because they possess knowledge of the truth about Cretans, they are well aware of their own sin. Because they have knowledge of what they are doing and are aware of their sin, Titus is not to “pamper” them and try to talk gently—he is to “reprove them severely” in order that they change and turn around from their present direction. The problem of the false prophets can be summed up as thus: “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16). They can “talk the talk,” but they can’t “walk the walk.” The fact that they demonstrate their knowledge through word-of-mouth stores up judgment for them. If a person can articulate something, then they are responsible for living up to it.
Hebrews 10:26-27 shows the seriousness of continued sin: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.” Once a person possesses knowledge of the truth, they are now able to choose between good and evil. To continue to do evil when one has knowledge of the good is to choose to willfully rebel against God.
The point of the above discussion regarding punishments for disobedient believers is to show that unless there is knowledge involved, a person can’t be punished for something. However, when a person knows something, it then becomes their responsibility to choose that which is right and good.
With Apollos, he didn’t know that there was a baptism greater than John’s. Priscilla and Aquila did what the believer should do—they took him aside and explained the Scriptures to him more. The text, however, has nothing to do with women and what environment(s) they can teach in. Grudem simply tries to find a way to fit this into his 1 Timothy 2 bias, but, instead, he butchers the text and performs “warped” exegesis.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teaching-- Manner or Means?

“Egalitarian Claim 5.10: Priscilla Taught Apollos: Since Priscilla and Aquila both “explained” to Apollos “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26), women can teach men in the church” (Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, 177).
The above statement comes as an egalitarian response regarding women in the church. Wayne Grudem opposes the idea of women teaching, and, as always, attempts to find a way to debunk the egalitarian argument. His response to the above claim? First, he points out the difference between public teaching and private teaching. According to Grudem, the case of Priscilla teaching Apollos was a private event (Answer 5.10b) and there is a difference between women teaching in private and women teaching in public. His final conclusion in the matter of Priscilla, however, is the following (Answer 5.10C):
“…it is specifically in situations where the whole church is assembled that Paul restricts governing and teaching activities to men (see 1 Corinthians 14:33-36; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; see also qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1). The example of Priscilla and Aquila instructing Apollos privately in Acts 18:26 does not contradict this” (Grudem, 179).
Go back to page 75 of Grudem’s book and notice that he talks about this passage in direct relation to 1 Timothy 2. As I’ve stated so many times before, Grudem uses 1 Timothy 2 as a “proof-text” for his inherent gender bias. Here, he argues that, since Priscilla taught him in private, this passage does not contradict 1 Timothy 2.
But Grudem makes a mistake. The emphasis of Acts 18:26 is not about women teaching in private (notice that Aquila aids in this endeavor). Rather, it is about a couple knowledgeable in the faith teaching someone who is not. The focus of the passage is on how to correct fellow believers in a loving and gentle manner. All of Scripture focuses on correcting others first in private, then, if need be, in public. To demonstrate this, the following discussion will start with the New Testament. But first, let’s look at Acts 18:24-26 (NASB):
“Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, BEING ACQUAINTED ONLY WITH THE BAPTISM OF JOHN; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But WHEN PRISCILLA AND AQUILA HEARD HIM, THEY TOOK HIM ASIDE and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
The two “all caps” phrases are the emphasis of these three verses. Note that Apollos was “an eloquent man…mighty in the Scriptures.” He was not only a good orator, but one very well-versed, one who studied Scripture assiduously. He knew Scripture backwards and forwards. However, there was one problem: he was “acquainted only with the baptism of John.” He only knew of John’s baptism, although John had told of Christ’s baptism to follow. He knew a lot, but he didn’t know everything!
Priscilla and Aquila hear him speaking boldly in the synagogue. The moment they hear him, do they correct him in public? No—they take him aside in private and correct him. This response is a response of love and gentleness that God’s Word requires of us. But this passage is not focusing on women teaching men in private. Grudem claims to be a strict literalist when it comes to 1 Timothy 2: but if he was, he would know that Paul writes (according to Grudem’s own view) that a woman should not teach a man—but it doesn’t say under what context a woman could teach a man! Paul says that a woman can’t (to use Grudem’s belief)! If Grudem believes women can teach men, just not in a public setting, then it must cause a person to pause and wonder if something else isn’t driving Grudem’s belief about women in ministry. If God can use a woman’s ministry gifts in private, why can’t He use them in public? God acknowledged Mary in public as a woman favored by God who was chosen to bear the Christ child…and Mary’s faithfulness to God is something only God saw. David was one who loved God in his heart, and yet, God anointed David publicly, not just in his household among his brothers but also announced him later in the presence of the nation of Israel. God is not one to just use people in secret; He also exalts them in public. Other examples would include Joseph, who was sold into slavery privately by his brothers (Genesis) but later became prime minister of Egypt, as well as Esther who, although a Jewish queen in private, was allowed to save her people publicly. Notice in the Esther story that Mordecai, Esther’s cousin (acting as uncle) exhorted Esther in private, but was exalted by God in public after the Jews’ lives were spared from extinction. Last but not least, look at Jesus—He was born in a little manger in Bethlehem, but later was crucified publicly on a cross in order to redeem and reconcile mankind back to God. Jesus often said many times while on earth that “My hour has not yet come” (John 2, John 7:6), and “my time is near” (Matthew 26:18) to indicate a set time in which He had to be publicly displayed on the cross (see Galatians 4:4 about “the fullness of time”).
Now that we’ve spent time showing examples of private to public displays of God’s ordained gifting of His children, let’s look at some passages that display correction of God’s people in the New Testament. We will look at the Old Testament examples in the days to come.

I. Correction in the New Testament
The example of Priscilla and Aquila with Apollos (Acts 18) seems to show us what love the couple extended to Apollos, while he possessed no knowledge of Christ’s baptism. His ignorance of the subject explains why Priscilla and Aquila took him aside. After all, Apollos is the subject of Acts 18:24-26, not Priscilla. She, like Aquila, is an innocent bystander who simply wants to teach Apollos so that the Gospel would not be blasphemed. The emphasis is Apollos, not Priscilla.
Matthew 18:15-17 shows a person how to teach someone regarding their sin:
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private…if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED…if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church…”
There is a three-step process here for dealing with a person who is wrong: first, tell them one-on-one; then, take another person or two with you; finally, tell the church; and if the person refuses to listen after that, reject him and walk away. Jesus told the disciples this process of how to encounter individuals in the body of Christ within the context of “becoming like children” in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 18:3) and going after those who are astray (Matt. 18:12-14). To confess sin and see one’s fault is what it means to be like a little child, to humble oneself (Matt. 18:4). To go after those who are astray involves chasing down those who have sinned in your presence (Matt. 18:15). This is part of what it means to do evangelism—go after those who are like that one stray sheep (18:12).
In the case of Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila were both present when Apollos began to teach of John’s baptism, so they both were present to inform Apollos of Christ’s baptism. With the words of Christ, we see that the first step to conducting church discipline is to go to that person IN PRIVATE, not humiliate him in public just to prove a point, or show how sinful he is. The purpose of discipline is to help the person turn from their sin, not make them look like the “chief of sinners” (although Paul labeled himself as such—1 Timothy 1).
However, if a person continues to sin, then other measures are to be taken—next, you take others with the person. After that doesn’t work, then it is time to exercise church discipline, and the church must take action in the problem. We will cover the justification for further action in the next blog on teaching.

Monday, December 15, 2008

From "Apostolos" to "Episkopos"

I have discussed Junia at some length over quite a few posts. And I stumbled onto something else I wanted to share with my readers.
Junia was a female apostle, possibly one of many—although she was the only one we’ve read of explicitly mentioned in Scripture as such. However, reading Romans 16:7, it is clear that she had an authoritative role in the churches and possessed quite an amount of spiritual authority over the churches at Rome. However, while pondering Junia’s apostleship, something hit me. I kept thinking back to the Eleven apostles (minus Judas, of course, who was the Twelfth), contemplating what an honor it must have been to Junia to read of Paul greeting her the way he did. I can imagine that if I were Junia, I would have thought about the original Twelve disciples often, and dreamed about how blessed I would have been to have been given the apostolic office by God, while at the same time, amazed at how I was “passed the torch” by the original apostles of old. Thinking about Junia’s “spiritual ancestors,” something flashed across my thoughts and I ended up grabbing my NASB translation as well as my UBS text of the “Reader’s Greek New Testament.” To find out where my mind took me (which is a scary thought in and of itself), turn to Acts 1:16-20. The disciples, along with the others, totaling 120 persons, are all in the Upper Room, and Peter is speaking about Judas’s apostleship. Let’s get in on the event:
“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was counted among us and receive his share in this ministry…For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead be made desolate, and let no one dwell in it’; and, LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE’” (Acts 1:16-17, 20).
Peter tells the gathering that Judas was one of them, but fell from his ministry because the Holy Spirit, speaking through David in Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8, foretold that Judas would do the very thing he did.
I grew up a reader of the King James Version (KJV), so I always read the King James, and, although I was confused at times, tried to make sense of the version. Reading Acts 1:20 in the King James said, “And his bishopric let another man take.” Did you notice the word “bishopric”? Peter, by so speaking, calls the apostolic office a “bishopric.” Immediately, my mind went to 1 Timothy 3, as I remembered that the KJV always began 1 Tim. 3 with the words, “If a man desires the office of a bishop…” I looked at the New American Standard translation to see what it could tell me, and it called the “bishopric” of the KJV an “office” or “position as overseer.” Immediately, I opened my “Reader’s Greek NT” to see what the original language could tell me, and I found this: the word for “bishopric” or “office of overseer” in the Greek is the word “episkopein.” The word used here, “episkopein,” in Acts 1:20, is the same word used for the office of a bishop in 1 Tim. 3:1. That got me to thinking, “If apostles are overseers, how is it possible for them to become pastors?” All this because of one little word…and our favorite female apostle, Junia!
Now, in order to answer this question, we’ll have to do a little Bible digging. In any case, I began to take notice of leadership in the early church. Acts 15 tells us of a letter sent from the Jewish churches to the new Gentile believers in Antioch. Verse 22 says, “Then it seemed good to the apostles and elders, with the whole church…” The only leadership in Acts 15 consisted of the apostles and elders. While the elders were there to teach and preach, they were not pastors. Although elders are overseers (and so are pastors), an elder is not a pastor (while a pastor is an elder). There is a difference between the offices of elder and pastor—but the apostles served in the pastoral role in the early church here in Acts 15.
Look in Acts 16. Paul selects Timothy to travel with him through the cities, so they could deliver the decrees of covenant from the church in Jerusalem to the new Gentile churches. Acts 16:4 says, “Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem…” The apostles and elders decided what decrees to issue to the new Gentile churches. They served, then, in the capacity of leadership for the Jerusalem church. The apostles, as leaders, would have served in the pastoral role.
Reading further into the New Testament, we can see how fellow workers with Paul, such as Timothy and Titus, served in the apostle/pastoral role. In Acts 18:19, Paul departed from Timothy (and company) and went to Cenchrea (accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila). It is after his departure to Macedonia that we read of 1 Timothy 1:3—“As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.” Timothy is left at Ephesus to oversee the church and straighten out issues in the church at Ephesus. First, Timothy has got to put an end to the false teaching. Next, Timothy has got to serve in a pastoral role. He has got to give guidance to the church for a while, make sure that everything is going as orthodox as it can. Paul writes to Timothy, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching…do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery” (1 Tim. 4:13-14). We read these words in verse 16: “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” In 1 Tim. 5:19-20 (regarding elders), “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses…those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning” (NASB). These instructions to Timothy are what a pastor does today. Thus, it is no secret that 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are referred to as “The Pastorals.” They are called “The Pastorals” because Paul gives Timothy and Titus pastoral advice regarding what to teach and how to conduct themselves while at these churches (or while establishing them). Although Timothy serves as a pastor, his service is not for long—in 2 Timothy 4:9 Paul says, “Make every effort to come to me soon.” And in 2 Tim. 4:11-12? “Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.” Notice that Timothy is not supposed to stay at Ephesus; he was only there in the beginning to “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:3-4a).
With Titus, the situation was a little different. While Timothy had to deal with existing elders at Ephesus, Titus had to appoint elders himself: “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). Titus was supposed to appoint elders, which is what an apostle would have done. Apostles were supposed to create churches and establish leadership, but then move on to other churches, where there were immediate needs. Apostles could also come back to other churches to maintain a watchful eye on their progress in the faith. Notice, in addition, that Titus doesn’t stay on the island of Crete after all of his work: “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:12). Titus, like Timothy, was supposed to serve a set purpose at the churches, but then move on to other needs in other churches. While neither are labeled an apostle outright in the Scriptures, both seem to do the work of apostles.
Last but not least, I wanna comment on the apostolic office: it involved a lot of work. Some time ago I spent time discussing Ephesians 4:11 (also found in 1 Corinthians 12:28) about the ministries of the church—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The apostles, having the greatest tasks of all the others, had to be skilled in many of these ministries. In Timothy’s case, he was an apostle (1 Tim. 1:3), a pastor (1 Tim. 5:17-22), a teacher (1 Tim. 4:11), and an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). In addition, many prophecies had been made about Timothy’s giftedness to the body of Christ (1 Tim. 1:18). Titus was an apostle (Titus 1:5), a teacher (Titus 2:15), and a pastor (1:13, 2:15). In Titus 1:13, Paul makes it clear that as Pastor, Titus’s job is to punish those who are teaching falsehood, deal with them publicly so others won’t do the same. This is indeed a job for the pastor alone.
Apostles had a hard job to do. In the case of Timothy and Titus, they had to prepare themselves for a number of things. But according to Peter’s own words in Acts 1:20, the apostolic office was a “bishopric,” a pastorate, a ministry with a pastoral role of caring for and watching over the churches of God. Junia, then, by being an apostle (Romans 16:7), would have had a job of the same caliber as Timothy and Titus, although she was heavily involved in the churches at Rome.

The next question becomes, then, “how could Junia (a woman apostle) be a woman pastor, a female “episkopos”? that is something I will address in future discussion on the Pastorals.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Church Messengers"-- Insignificant?

In our discussion on “Junia or Junias,” we have seen that the name of the mysterious apostle with “Andronicus” in Romans 16:7 was a woman named Junia; secondly, she was an apostle, who Paul says was in Christ before he was. In this post, I am gonna add a final note on the “Junia/Junias” discussion by entertaining Dr. Wayne Grudem’s notion of Junia as a “church messenger.”

My last post on the debate showed the context of the label “apostle” in several texts—John 13, Phil. 2:25, 2 Cor. 8, and Romans 16:7. Today, however, I am gonna deal with some passages that address “church messengers” in their contexts—2 Cor. 8 and Acts 15:22-32. I have already addressed Phil. 2 and Romans 16.

I. 2 Corinthians 8
As I’ve mentioned in a former post, 2 Corinthians 8 is about the Corinthian church providing a financial contribution to help the Macedonians, who were in need. In verse 23, Paul mentions “our brethren,” and labels them as “apostles” to the churches. There is significant evidence to show that the brethren referred to in this passage are church messengers. 2 Cor. 8:19 says, “…he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work…” One of the brothers has been “appointed by the churches,” which is how church messengers are selected. However, go back to verse 18 and we read something else: “We have sent along with him[Titus] the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches.” The church representative, then, was not just a Christian in the body of Christ, but someone who labored in the gospel, someone whose spiritual authority was known in the churches. Another brother was sent, according to 2 Cor. 8:22—“We have sent with them [Titus and the famous brother] our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you.” The other representative sent had a record of tried-and-true dedication. He had been tested, tried, examined, and found to be trustworthy and hardworking. The men of 2 Corinthians 8 were men of excellence whose work in the churches spoke volumes for them.

II. Acts 15:22-32
The last passage we will study on this subject is Acts 15:22-32. The text begins by telling us about the traveling mission: “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren…” (Acts 15:22). Judas and Silas were not just ordinary men—they were “leading men” among the brethren, men who stood out among the rest. They were distinguished from the rest of the church body (with the exception of the apostles and elders). In Acts 15:26, we’re told more about Judas and Silas: “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not only were they leading men, but they even put their lives on the line for Christ. This is similar to the description Paul gave about Epaphroditus to the Philippian church: “Receive him[Epaphroditus] then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me” (Phil. 2:29-30). So the report about Judas and Silas was no flattering language—it was truth, it was the testimony of two godly men who were sent from their church as not only representatives, but living witnesses of godliness to the Gentiles. In addition, with the apostles and elders sending these two men out, it is clear that they selected carefully the kind of character they would have to represent the church.
Last but not least, notice that Judas and Silas were men of spiritual authority as well: “Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message” (Acts 15:32). Notice that both Judas and Silas were prophets, men who stood in the prophetic office. And they were prophets IN ADDITION TO serving as messengers of the church!

Taking all this into account, now look at Romans 16:7 with the apostle Junia. She has been “killed” throughout history and even given a sex change and “recreated” as a man in order to keep women out of ministry positions; but if Junia was only a church messenger, her spiritual authority gets enhanced instead of diminished—for every church messenger sent out by the early churches were those whose hands were constantly being put to the gospel plow.

I wanna end this discussion of Junia (at least for now and the foreseeable future) with a quote from a church father and a quote from a scholar.
The church father John Chrysostom wrote (about Junia):
“Even to be an apostle is great, but also to be prominent among them—consider how wonderful a song of honor that is. For they were prominent because of their works, because of their successes. Glory be! How great the wisdom of this woman that she was even deemed worthy of the apostle’s title” (“Junia—the First Woman Apostle,” by Eldon Jay Epp, pg. 79).

The above research I’ve done, in addition to Chrysostom’s quote, leaves a mass puddle of confusion for Wayne Grudem and complementarians. In the words of Manfred Haucke: “Even assuming that ‘Junia’ could be interpreted as feminine, the function of a ‘lady apostle’ need not lie in the area of public preaching. The strict “ban on teaching” in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 would not be easy to understand given the supposed existence of a female missionary preacher” (Eldon Jay Epp, 81).
Haucke’s response is typical—even when the evidence favors a woman apostle, he (like all other complementarians) still choose to deny women their ordained giftedness in the body of Christ. But, most importantly, if Junia is an apostle, as the evidence shows, what are we to do with 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2? The answer? Maybe both passages are more local in nature and written to specific churches for specific reasons than we’d like to think.

Prophecy and Teaching II

I was hit with something good tonight. I was thumbing through the index at the back of my NASB Bible, looking for what Scripture could tell me about prophets. Looking in the section labeled “prophets,” I found a reference in Exodus 7 to Aaron as a prophet, and became instantly intrigued.

I started a special section on “prophecy and teaching” a few days ago, and thoughts about both subjects have been rattling through my head ever since. But what got me was the reference in Exodus 7, and then Exodus 4, about Aaron as prophet. This is what Exodus 7:1 has to say: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.” What was Aaron to do in his prophetic role? “he shall speak for you [Moses] to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him” (Ex. 4:16, NASB).
The above verses from Exodus are fascinating, indeed. What God says about Aaron is that Aaron served as a prophet to Moses. Aaron did what all other prophets did in the Old Testament—they spoke for God, they told the people what God told them to pass to His people.

I see the critique coming, though: “Aaron was a prophet to Moses, not to the people.” However, can we be sure of that? Look at Numbers 12. This chapter concerns Aaron’s and Miriam’s murmuring against Moses because he marries an Ethiopian, a Cushite woman (v.1). This is what Miriam and Aaron said against Moses: “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well” (Numbers 12:2)? Both Miriam and Aaron complain against Moses—but they do so because, in a sense, they are on the same level as he: they are prophets, just as much as he is! However, they are different, and God reveals the difference in Numbers 12:6-8—“If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision, I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses…With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD.” Moses was different in his prophetic office than Miriam and Aaron because God spoke to him directly, in contrast to how God spoke to Miriam and Aaron—through dreams and visions. But notice that God doesn’t chide Aaron for claiming to be a prophet—but for speaking against Moses!

This is significant because in Wayne Grudem’s Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, Grudem attempts to separate the offices of prophet and priest entirely (136-137). Here, however, we first see that the offices are somewhat connected through Aaron, who was a prophet as well as a priest (he didn’t lose his prophetic office even after becoming priest—see Leviticus 10 and Numbers 12). In Leviticus 10, Aaron is made a priest in addition to his sons. In Numbers 12, located after Leviticus 10 (in Israelite history), Aaron is still claiming his prophetic office.

While this connection between prophecy and teaching is great, there exists another thought about the two offices: while the prophetic office remains even in the New Testament, the priestly office disappears: “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:11-12). The priesthood has been abolished because the ultimate sacrifice, Christ Jesus, has come.

The priesthood has been done away with because of Christ, our High Priest (Heb. 3:1); however, the prophetic office still stands, even though Christ has already come. While the Old Testament prophets prophesied concerning Christ (1 Peter 1:10-11) as well as the sins of the people, the New Testament prophets are to give revelations from God regarding God’s people in the present as well as God’s activity in the future. The nature of New Testament prophecy is up to God, but the office continues for God’s people. The long-standing prophetic office outweighs the short-term priestly office. The priestly office was a “shadow” of that which was to come, namely Christ (Heb. 10:1), but the prophetic office testifies to Christ long-term, since God is, even now, equipping people for this office in order to build up His church and edify His saints (Eph. 4).
While the task of teaching the law was committed to priests in the Old Testament, it is not connected to priests today, and, as such, is a separate gift that God gives. While no women ever served as priests in the Old Testament, by discontinuing the priestly office and making the saints a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5), God now designates those whom He pleases, no matter gender or bloodline, to teach His Word. As I’ve often stated, Grudem has a 1 Timothy 2 bias that won’t let him go. Everything in his book is connected to 1 Timothy 2, and even when he can’t explain something, he appeals to 1 Timothy 2. It seems as if, for him, this one passage stands out as his view of women, no matter what other evidence (including contextual) tells his otherwise. Don’t worry, though: we’ll get to 1 Timothy 2 soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Apostles" or "church messengers"?

Hopefully, those who read this post have read the first two posts on "the Resurrection of Junia." I just posted the article by David Jones at the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, so that those who desire to read the article will do so. Please take time to read the article before reading this one.

Today's topic will tackle another combative response of Wayne Grudem's from his book on "Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth" ( I want to again re-emphasize that, while I am not a complementarian, I am also not a feminist. I believe that both sexes should exercise their God-given gifts in the church.

But, as those of you who've read my posts may know, I am currently tackling the problem regarding Junia: who was this person-- male or female? And if Junia was female, was she really an apostle in the church at Rome? I dealt with those issues last night...but one issue still lingers on: what does the word "apostles" mean in this context? Were Andronicus and Junia apostles in the sense that they possessed a God-given ministry? or were they just church representatives passing through Rome?

To start off the debate, let's get a good quote from our "favorite" guy, the distinguished Dr. Wayne Grudem: "Answer 7.2e: The word translated 'apostles' could just mean 'church messengers' here as it does elsewhere in Paul's writings" (EFBT, 226).
Grudem then proceeds to point out a few passages where this meaning is present: John 13:16, 2 Corinthians 8:23, and Philippians 2:25 (not to mention, Romans 16:7, our most important passage for this post).
To be fair, let's examine these three passages outside of Romans 16 where the word "apostles" could really mean "church messengers."

First, we have John 13:16-- "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him" (New American Standard Bible). Grudem believes that this refers to a messenger. And it does. At its basic definition, "apostle" means "one who is sent." The word comes from the Greek word "apostello," meaning "to send forth." It does mean "messenger", at its most basic definition. But note here that Christ is talking to those who would form the twelve apostles in the early church. In verse 17, Jesus says, "if you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." Notice that when He talks about "one who is sent" (v.16), He is referring to the twelve He would go on to give what we know as The Great Commission (Matthew 28). Jesus commissioned the twelve Himself and told them, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). The twelve got their calling from God, not from a church. Notice also that in Matthew 16 when Jesus is talking to Peter, He tells Peter, "and upon this rock I will build my church..." (v.18). Jesus hadn't built His church before renaming Peter; He was starting to gather His church. To call the twelve "church messengers" is to read a later construction back into a text that is, to say the least, "pre-church."
Looking at Matthew 28 once more, there is one more significant thing that we cannot miss; it is found in the preceding verse, verse 18: "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." It's funny that Jesus makes this pronouncement of having "all authority" before He sends out the twelve. This is what Paul makes reference to in our favorite gifts passage, "Ephesians 4," before mentioning the gifts. Let's read Paul's statement:
"Therefore it says, 'When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.'
(Now this expression, 'He ascended,' what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers" (Eph. 4:8-11).

the verse that Paul quotes in Eph. 4:8 is a reference to Psalm 68:18 and Colossians 2:15. Read both verses in their contexts (surrounding verses), and you will see that in order to receive the gifts, Christ had to "disarm the rulers and authorities." And what happens when one ruler prevails over another? The defeated ruler in history had to pay tribute. This is where the saying, "To the victor belongs the spoils" was born. Whoever won the battle got the riches-- gold, silver, servants, women, etc. When Christ triumphed over Satan and his authorities, Christ received the authority (having defeated death, hell, and the grave) in order to give authority to His church. And the purpose for this was so that Christ could make good on His promise, "...upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." In order for Christ to make this promise, He knew that He would go to the cross and defeat Satan and his kingdom. As a result, He had the power to then leave gifts with His church. Ephesians 4 lists the gifts.
Christ mentions His victory to the twelve before sending them out, which shows that they were not going out through the church, but because of Christ. They were going out in order to "build" Christ's church. In so doing, they had Christ's support (His power and authority) with them. In addition, this task was not for a limited time (as that of a church messenger); instead, this was a lifelong task of reaching the lost for Christ.

Next, we have 2 Corinthians 8:23-- "As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ" (NASB). The word for "messengers" here is "apostolois." Context here dictates these men are some sort of church messengers. 2 Corinthians 9 tell us what the underlying situation is for 2 Corinthians 8: "Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all" (2 Cor. 9:13). So we find that the context of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 involve the church at Corinth sending a contribution to the Macedonians (2 Cor. 9:2). These men involved are "appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work" (2 Cor. 8:19), so the title of "apostle" here has more to do with church delegation than the spiritual office itself.

In Philippians 2:25, Epaphroditus is sent by Paul to the church at Philippi: "But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus...who is also your messenger and minister to my need." Paul calls Epaphroditus "your messenger" and "minister to my need." Epaphroditus is serving as a church messenger ("your messenger"); but notice that Paul says more about him: Epaphroditus is a "fellow soldier." Not only does he work alongside Paul ("fellow worker"), but he is also one who "battles" alongside Paul. An ordinary worker could work hard for Paul, as did Mary in Romans 16:6, but every worker beside Paul was not a "fellow soldier." The fact that Paul refers to Epaphroditus as such lets us know that Epaphroditus "fought" alongside Paul, did the work of ministry beside Paul, went where Paul went, did what Paul did. He was not just a simple church messenger, for if he was, he would have been appointed by the churches. Notice that Paul sends him to the church (2:25). Let's look at what Paul writes about Epaphroditus: "Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me" (Phil. 2:29-30). Paul tells the church to hold Epaphroditus in high regard. The fact that Paul makes him an example to follow shows that Epaphroditus was not just a mere church messenger. When Paul refers to Titus, for example, he calls him "my partner and fellow worker" (2 Cor. 8:23). What did Titus do as Paul's "fellow worker?" "for this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you" (Titus 1:5). Titus, as an apostle, was supposed to establish churches on the island of Crete. He was an apostle, just as much as Paul was. Even he was not a mere messenger. With Epaphroditus, Paul refers to him as a "minister to my need." Paul chose to send Epaphroditus because he was close to him, but also because Epaphroditus served in that same office-- as an apostle whose job consisted of watching over the churches. Paul did not just send ordinary people, those without a calling, to the churches. If a person was sent, it was because Paul had seen testimony of such a witness in their lives. This is best seen in how Paul was hesitant to allow John Mark to come along with he and Barnabas (Acts 15:37-38).

Last but not least, let's look at the passage from Romans 16:7. In context, there is nothing that would make one believe that Andronicus and Junias were church messengers. If they were church messengers, they would have been sent to another church or place for a set purpose. When Paul writes to the church at Rome about Phoebe, he says, "our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea" (16:1). Phoebe, then, is serving here as a church messenger, while also being a woman in leadership at her church. So even Phoebe, while serving as a church messenger, is not someone without spiritual authority in her church!! Phoebe wasn't just a church messenger without authority, and neither are Andronicus and Junia apostles without authority. Notice that in Romans 16:7, no other church is given. They are not representatives coming to Rome from another church-- they are believers in the church at Rome! Paul salutes them, then, not because they're "running errands" for churches-- but because they're apostles at Rome, a man and woman of spiritual authority in the church!

I think this post has dealt with the attack by Wayne Grudem, David Jones, and others about Andronicus and Junia being just church messengers. Don't worry-- in case more attacks come, more scriptural combat will follow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Resurrection of Junia (Part II)

In my last post on Romans 16:7 and the disputed name (Junia/Junias), I mentioned David Jones, a prominent scholar and member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who argues that "iounian" is really "Junias," although it could be a woman. I just read a little while ago his 16-page article titled "A Female Apostle?: A Lexical-Syntactical Analysis of Romans 16:7," and I highly recommend that those who read widely on this subject take a hard long look at it (

Jones is careful to do his research. However, there are problems (as one could imagine). In his section titled "Evidence from Greek Literature," he correctly notes that the names "Junia" and "Junias" are rarities in Greek literature-- but the evidence works against him. David Jones writes at the end of part I of his article, "Perhaps I could sum it up this way: if I were serving on the NIV revision committee, my recommendation to the committee would be to translate the name Junias, but to acknowledge with a footnote the possibility that the name could refer to a woman named Junia" (6). Jones makes it clear what side he's on-- he believes the name should be translated in the masculine. But what evidence does he give for this? in his section on Greek Literature, he notes that both Junia and Junias are rarities in Greek literature; but what he doesn't see in his own research is that, while both names are rarities in Greek, the only evidence he presents is for "Junia." First, he mentions the reference in Romans 16:7 (which he assumes is debatable); then, he mentions "Junia, who was both the wife of Cassius and the sister of Brutus (one of the men who murdered Julius Caesar(3); last but not least, he finds a partially-erased inscription which reads, "[ ] ia Torquata." Whatever the name was, the fact that it had an "ia" ending reveals to us that this was a woman's name. No man's name in the first century, nor today, will end in an "ia." If someone claims this to be true, call a man "Maria" whose name is "Mario," and I'll be glad to talk to "Mario" and ask him how it feels...

Therefore, while "Neither the male nor the female versions of this name were common in Greek literature" (3) surely, Junia appears in these evidences...and where is the case for "Junias"? There isn't a case, because the name didn't exist.

Jones gives himself away again on his section called "Evidence from Latin Literature": "In Latin writings Junia appears as a fairly common woman's name while Junias, the man's name, is virtually nonexistent. There is a masculine equivalent to Junia in Latin, but it is Junius, which then translated into Greek is 'Iounios,' not 'Iounias'" (3). Junias is nowhere to be found not only in Greek literature, but Latin as well. According to Eldon Jay Epp in his book (I recommended in my first post on the Resurrection of Junia), the name Junia is mentioned at least 250 times in historical literature, while "Junias" is nonexistent. How does Jones attempt to account for this apparent "imaginary" name? "This absence of the male equivalent (to Junia) could be explained by the process of forming nicknames in Greek" (3). Did you read that? Notice that it "could be explained." Yes, surely, it is possible that it could; but where's the evidence? Show me in all of Greek and Latin literature where the name is mentioned. It isn't. Looking for the name "Junias" in the historical research is like looking for the name "Shaquilla." "Shaquilla" is a contemporary name and chances are, it won't be found in any ancient literature.

In section E, "The Evidence from the Early Church Fathers," Jones notes John Chrysostom's belief that the person "Iounian" was Junia, and that she was quite a woman to be named an apostle. But then note Jones's sarcasm: "It is important to recognize, however, that Chrysostom did not take Junia to be an authoritative apostle, but rather as an apostle in a secondary sense, as one commissioned by the church for a certain task (cf. Acts 13:2-3; 14:14)" (5).
I find it fascinating that Jones uses these scriptures as his justification. If one looks at the context of Acts 13, one will discover that first, "prophets and teachers" are mentioned (13:1), and, secondly, the Holy Spirit is the one who commissions Paul and Barnabas: "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" (13:2). The Holy Spirit is the one who called Paul and Barnabas and told the church that He called them to this work in verse 2. Paul and Barnabas, in this context, are not "commissioned by the church" as Jones states; they are called of God. This calling by the Holy Spirit, then, is that of the office of Apostle, not a simple representative or one sent to do a task by a church. After all, it would be Paul who would later state in Romans 11:13, "Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry..."(English Standard Version). Paul then, considered being an "apostle" as more than a simple church task-- it was a ministry, a constant, continuous spiritual work that he dedicated himself to. It was not a task given by a church, but by the Lord. If Junia was given the work of Acts 13 and 14, then Junia truly had authority as an apostle. What apostle in Scripture, known as such, lacked authority in the churches? There is no such distinction between an "authoritative" and a "non-authoritative" apostle. This wording indicates Jones's inherent bias against women in authority. I smell a "1 Timothy 2" rat here...hmmm...

In his last section of evidence from the church fathers, Jones uses one example of a "Junias" mentioned: "Epiphanius (AD 315-403), bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, writing perhaps just prior to Chrysostom's comments on Rom. 16:7, includes a reference to Iounian in his Index of Disciples: 'Junias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria'" (5). It seems that Jones has found such an example of "Junias"-- but the problem still remains: why is it that Jones provides a fourth and fifth-century example when he knows as a renown scholar that Paul writes his letter in the first century AD? Epiphanius then, had an interpretation that was the only one altogether. This does not shatter his attack on Brooten. He looks bad for not finding an example from the first century. He digs his hole much deeper here, after not having any evidence for "Junias" from Greek and Latin literature.

As if Jones's evidence against "Junia" is not poor enough, he then tries to attack her apostleship. In his section on "The Context of Romans 16," Jones writes:
"Andronicus and Iounian are buried amidst a virtual potpourri of greetings that Paul extends to members of the Roman church. It seems odd that Paul would not refer to two apostles until well into his greetings; one would think that they would be more prominent among the individuals mentioned. The fact that he mentions Phoebe, Prisca and Aquila, and others first suggests that Andronicus and Iounian were not as prominent in his mind" (9). This becomes Jones's first reason against Junia as an Apostle. His problem, however, lies in "One would think..." Placing this as a justification against Junia is no justification at all. Jones has failed here to provide examples of such writing in Paul's letters. He fails to study significant persons in all of Paul's greetings and show us a consistent pattern of where Paul mentions the "most authoritative" persons first. He fails to even research this, but instead, appeals to what "one would think." This is not scholarship-- just an intellectually lazy reason to bump Junia from her rightful place.

On to Jones's next reason for a "non-authoritative apostleship": "Andronicus and Iounian do not receive the extravagant praise that these others do, like Phoebe, Prisca and Aquila. Why would two prominent apostles be given less praise?" (9) What does an "extravagant praise" have to do with their authority? Phoebe, Prisca, and Aquila are all mentioned in the way Paul does because they have done specific things for Paul: Phoebe has supported Paul, and Prisca and Aquila worked with him as tentmakers (Acts 18:1-3). He had a lot more to say because he spent more time with them and Phoebe than he did his kinsmen. Notice that Paul greets other kinsman, such as "Herodion" (Rom. 16:11), about whom he had nothing to mention. However, he mentions Rufus, and Rufus's mother, whom he says, "has been a mother to me as well" (16:13b).
Now, on to what Paul actually says about Andronicus and Junia: "my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners...they are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me" (16:7). First, they are his kinsmen, his relatives; secondly, they are his "fellow prisoners"; third, they stand out from the apostles; and fourth, they were in Christ before he was. With all he notes about Andronicus and Junia, how can it be mistaken that Paul doesn't offer any "extravagant praise" for him? Once again, Jones is grasping at straws, attempting to find any and every little thing to keep from acknowledging Junia's apostleship.

Notice his third reason against Junia's office: "If we are to understand the gender of Iounian to be feminine, the fact that she is mentioned second to Andronicus suggests that she may have been less prominent than he was" (9). But look at what he places in parentheses: "(cp. the order in v.3, where Prisca is mentioned first)." If Jones wants to play the "order game," where order equals importance and ability, then Priscilla was more gifted than her husband-- and Paul doesn't have a problem admitting that to the church at Rome. Mentioning Junia second may very well mean that Junia had a "less prominent" role than Andronicus; but how does being "less prominent" replace the fact that Junia was still "prominent"? About Andronicus and Junia, Paul says that they are "outstanding among the apostles." They are noteworthy, they are of special mention to Paul. How is that degrading because she may or may have not been "less prominent" than Andronicus? As I've stated in a few posts, gender-biased scholars will focus on the little small things such as "less authority" because they don't wanna admit that Junia had authority. She was an apostle, and all the apostles had authority in the early church. They were all church leaders-- although some had more authority and greater tasks than others. But what does this have to do with Junia not being an "authoritative apostle"?

Next, he tries to use 3 Maccabees 6 (an apocryphal text) to show that the Greek phrase "en tois apostolois" really means "to the apostles": "whatever Paul means in Romans 16:7, he does not intend to say that Andronicus and Iounian are the most prominent of the apostles, or else he could have used the genitive case (as in 3 Maccabees 6:1) to heighten the comparison" (10). Now, Paul "could have used" the genitive! It seems as if, to save his own presupposition, Jones must now deny the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that drove Paul to write the way he did. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God..." For Jones to question how Paul wrote something shows that he is willing to deny the Holy Spirit's inspiration to write Scripture just to save his gender bias against Junia. The moment Paul acknowledges a woman, now Paul must have been a little beside himself!
Well, to prove Jones wrong, I found a passage, Matthew 20:26, where Jesus is discussing rank in the apostolic order. Interestingly enough, the Greek phrase says, "hos ean thele in humin megas," which translates to (in the English Standard Version), "whoever would be great among you." The phrase "en humin" here translates to "among you." Notice here that Jesus uses the adjective "great," followed by "among you." He first points out something that is above the rest of the apostles. Now look at Romans 16:7-- the phrase there in the Greek is "hoitines eisin episemoi en tois apostolois." The first word, "hoitines," is very similar to Jesus' word "whoever" in Matthew 20:26; the second word, "are," is the plural verb for Andronicus and Junia, just as Jesus used the verb "estai" (will be). Next, Paul uses a qualifier for these two persons, "episemoi," which means "outstanding" or "noteworthy." Jesus uses the word "megalas," which means "great," a qualifier for his statement.

Now, Paul uses the phrase "en tois apostolois." This is where the translation gets interesting. In Matthew 20:26, the phrase translates to "among you (all)." The "great" would stand above the rest. But this is where some scholars stop...and instead of translating the phrase as "among the apostles," they translate it as "well-known to the apostles" (such as translators of the English Standard Version and others). The problem with this is that there is a qualifier for these two persons: they are not just apostles, but of special emphasis for Paul. That, alone, makes them two who stand out from the rest of the group. But then, notice that Paul says about them, "they were in Christ before me" (Romans 16:7b). He is writing this greeting to them because he knows of their work in the faith and how they labored in his presence. If Paul were writing to greet other apostles, he surely would have mentioned them in his letter, as he mentions "Gaius" (v.23), "Timothy" (v.21), "Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater" (v. 21), as well as "Erastus" (v.23). None of these men are called "apostles." Paul does not mention another apostle in the letter, only Andronicus and Junia. While Paul is not mentioning himself as being of the group here, he is making it clear that there were a group of apostles at the church at Rome, and that, of them, these two are unique from the group. The ESV seems to not disagree with "among you" of Matthew 20:26; but when it gets to this verse, they seem to have a gender bias that keeps them from rendering this in the traditional manner.

There is so much more to write on this subject, and I will write soon. Next time, I will attack Wayne Grudem's translation of "tois apostolois" of Romans 16:7 as "church messengers."

The Resurrection of Junia

In case you're seeing one of my posts for the first time, let me make it clear that my job is to find out what the Bible says about men and women in the church. While I will often combat complementarians on this site, and may even sound harsh at times (although I don't like to), I am also not a feminist. I don't believe that women and only women should have leadership in our churches. A good 'ole boys network nor a good 'ole girls network will do.

Instead, God has designed two genders, male and female, and has given them both dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26). So the church should be composed of men and women in leadership who love God and exercise their gifts to His glory.

Last time, I discussed Deborah's role as a prophetess and how women serving as prophets (one of the highest gifts according to Ephesians 4) aids the defense for women in ministry. Today, I'm gonna spend time on women as apostles-- and to aid this discussion, we have the question regarding Junia in Romans 16:7-- is the name "Junia" or "Junias?"

Romans 16:7 reads: "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me."

Wayne Grudem tackles this topic in his book, "Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth" ( In response to feminist assertions that Junia's apostleship opens the door for women, Grudem responds (Answer 7.2a): "The name that is spelled "iounian" in the Greek text of Romans 16:7 could be either a man's name or a woman's name simply according to the spelling...just as in English there are some names (such as Chris or Pat) that could be either a man's name or a woman's name, so in Greek, this name could be either masculine or feminine, and we cannot tell from the spelling alone" (224).

For those who desire a good response to Grudem (or any other complementarian), read Eldon Jay Epp's book entitled "Junia-- the first woman apostle." This book, written in 2005, shows how the issue of "junia/junias" became an issue when it wasn't one for a long period of time: "...for the first seven centuries of the church's life Greek manuscripts did not employ accents (in the name), but when accents did become common practice in the manuscript tradition...they uniformly identify the name as feminine...there is no Greek manuscript extant that umambiguously identifies Andronicus's partner as a male...that consistent pattern coheres with the evidence offered by early Christian writers for the first thousand years of the church's life and well into the second thousand years. Theologians as diverse as Origen, Ambrosiaster, John Chrysostom, Jerome, Theodoret, John Damascene, Peter Abelard, and Peter Lombard, assume that the partner of Andronicus is a woman by the name of Junia...only with the thirteenth century Aegidius of Rome, and especially with Martin Luther's translation, did the view arise that Junia was in fact a male, Junias. Finally, and not of least importance, the female name Junia is a widely attested Roman name, but there exists no evidence for the use of the masculine forms 'Junias' or 'Junianus'" (foreword, x-xi).

There are those who seek to attack "Junia" because they believe that a woman could never be an apostle. Epp discusses the editor's comment regarding Romans 16:7 in Bruce Metzger's "Textual Commentary to UBS" (1994): "Some members, considering it unlikely that a woman would be among those styled 'apostles,' understood the name to be masculine ("iounian"- Junias), thought to be a shortened form of 'Junianus'...others, however, were impressed by the facts that (1) the female Latin name Junia occurs more than 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name Junias is unattested anywhere, and (2) when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine 'Iounian ('Junia')" (Epp, 54). The historical research that gives credence to Junia's name is all there-- but yet and still, there are biased scholars who deny the truth even when it's staring them in the face. Evidently, research isn't an objective activity anymore.

At the end of Grudem's analysis, he concludes that the name of the mysterious apostle beside Andronicus is Junia (EFBT, 226) from the earliest citations by church fathers. However, other forces out there, such as David Jones (from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) have attempted to argue for "Junias." The problems with this interpretation have already been given: there is no research present for the name itself. When there is no research, and scholars "forge" research anyway, what do we have? A made-up, fictional character like Peter Pan to believe in. And I don't know about you, but I'm too mature for fairy tales...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prophecy and Teaching

To handle the issue of men and women in the church, I'd like to start with the issue of prophecy (this being a known gift to both men and women). The Old Testament gives examples of prophetesses, female prophets such as Miriam (Exodus), Deborah (Judges 4), and Huldah.
And the common argument has been from those who accept women into ministry that if women served as prophetesses in the Old Testament (and Philip's daughters, for example, prophesied in the New), then women can exercise any gift and hold any position in the church.

Renown complementarian author Wayne Grudem, writes in his book, "Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth" in response 7.3D (prophecy is not the same as teaching):
"Linda Belleville argues that the word "instruct" in 1 Corinthians 14:19 shows that prophets carried out a teaching function in the church...Belleville fails to tell her readers that this verse does not mention prophecy!...Paul says nothing about prophecy in this verse. He is contrasting intelligible speech in the church with speaking in tongues. 'Teaching' has already been mentioned in the context (v.6), and that is most likely what Paul has in mind when he talks about speaking to "instruct others" (pp. 230-231).

First, for those who don't own a copy, you can go to the following website in order to access Wayne Grudem's book:

There is a problem, however, with Grudem's response. If we look at 1 Corinthians 14:19, it doesn't explicitly mention "prophesying." However, we have to look at the verse within its context-- which means we must examine the verses before it and after it to determine what this verse means. Grudem is right in that Paul is talking about intelligible speech; but he is wrong in saying that it applies to teaching only. Look back to verse 8 to determine what the "intelligible speech" of verse 19 consists of: "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?" Paul includes prophecy in this same discussion, as he does teaching. Grudem, however, fails to tell his readers of prophecy in the same way Belleville fails to tell her readers of teaching in verse 6.
Four more verses, placed after verse 19, also gives us insight into the gifts. These verses are 1 Corinthians 14:22-25:
"Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you."

Notice that in these verses, Paul does not mention teaching; instead, he focuses on prophecy as the gift that will bring sinners into worship of the true and living God (in addition to encouraging believers). Next, notice that the context of prophesying (v.24) is when "the whole church comes together" (v.23).
Prophecy and teaching, while different, are connected, and Grudem fails to take this into account. In 1 Peter 4, Peter discusses those who "speak" in the church (Peter doesn't distinguish between preaching, teaching, and prophesying): "whoever speaks, as one who speaks the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11). Moses received "oracles" while in the wilderness with the Israelites (Acts 7:38). What did these oracles consist of? Messages from God, announcements from God, that which God wanted to relay to His people. So when a person speaks in the church, according to 1 Peter 4, that person should speak as though he were speaking words he received from God Himself. Peter doesn't say that when you speak, you should speak as though you've done your teaching outline, or prepared for a Sunday School lesson. And I believe that Peter makes speaking the oracles of God the goal because this is the more important gift.

Lest someone should think I'm besides myself, I suggest that we look at Ephesians 4 regarding the gifts for the church: "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers" (Eph. 4:7). Complementarians always seem to make the argument that since Adam was created first in the created order, that women should not have a teaching or preaching role in the church (1 Tim. 2:8-15). But, if first is best, if order is important, then what about Ephesians 4? Notice that the apostles and prophets are placed before the pastors and teachers, not after them. In terms of ministry, then, those who are so gifted to be apostles and prophets are of greater importance in ministry than pastors and teachers. If complementarians want to establish that the earliest mentioned is the most important, then they have to take everything to that conclusion-- in this case, they will be forced to admit that apostles and prophets are more important than pastors and teachers.

Scripture testifies of women who served as prophetesses in the Old Testament as well as the New (Philip's daughters in Acts). As for me, however, I'd like to think of all the gifts as being equally important in the body of Christ. However, teaching and prophesying are connected. Even as far back as Isaiah in the Old Testament, prophets taught. When God chastises the prophets he talks to Isaiah about "the prophet who teaches lies" (Isaiah 9:15).
The Old Testament gift of prophesying is the same as that of the New Testament-- people received words from God to give His people. And women are included in the gift of prophecy in the New Testament.

But where does that leave women in teaching? Can women teach, just like they can prophesy? You bet. Grudem argues against women teaching publicly, but women are allowed to prophesy in public; what then, could hold them back from teaching? If prophesy is such a great gift in terms of rank (as Paul says), then what would keep women from teaching, which, according to Ephesians 4, is a lesser office?
Look back at Leviticus 10:11-- "and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses." Remember my earlier quote from Acts 7:38? Well, this is what Leviticus 10 is talking about. The priest had one job-- to teach what they received from Moses. And who was Moses? A prophet. And Moses was greater than his brother Aaron in his task, for God made sure Aaron (the priest) and Miriam knew who the greater was (Numbers 12:6-7).
The prophetic office is more mentioned, even in the Old Testament; and women surely stood in the prophetic office. What then, would stop them from teaching Scripture? In the 1 Corinthians 14 passage above, notice that Paul mentions "prophecy" before "teaching" and so forth. Prophecy and teaching are both important to the body of Christ. But the only thing that Grudem uses to keep women out of the office is his personal interpretation of 1 Timothy 2. And since that's such a good discussion, I'll save it for a future time.