Saturday, May 9, 2009

Something New

I finally decided to return to Margaret Kostenberger’s book, “Jesus and the Feminists,” after spending some large time away. It took me a while to be able to stomach the fact that she calls Egalitarians “Evangelical FEMINISTS.” Yes, that’s right: the word “feminist” reaches down into the deepest parts of my soul and makes me wanna write a book all about why egalitarians are NOT feminists...but I won’t waste time engaging the complementarians in their “ad hominem” (translated “to the man”) attack.

In all honesty, there are NO NEW ARGUMENTS in the book. Margaret simply affirms what her husband, Andreas, and other complementarians affirm—without much evidence. But let’s at least give Margaret a chance to prove me wrong about her...

After studying the passages of the New Testament that mention or involve women (from the Gospels), Kostenberger then sums up the point of her study:

“...NONE of the passages we have studied gives any indication that Jesus envisioned a community where men and women would be equal in positions of leadership. Jesus chose twelve men as his apostles (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19)” (“Jesus and the Feminists: Who Do They Say That He Is?” by Margaret Elizabeth Kostenberger. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008, page 213).

She then cites some factors by James Borland as to why male apostolic selection is important. Of the five factors, I want to examine the fifth factor, that of the permanence of male apostolic selection:

“As a testimony to the PERMANENCE OF MALE LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH, the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed on the foundation of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14; cf. Eph. 2:20)” (213).

First off, Jesus never discussed the patriarchalist component of his culture in which He live; He did, however, treat women differently than the men of His day. His encounter with the Samaritan woman shocked the disciples (John 4). But Christ never came to earth to do away with the existing culture. The Jews believed that Christ had come to free them from Roman rule—but He doesn’t free them from their physical chains. And notice that, in the Gospels, when He is tried, He doesn’t attempt to free Himself, but submits to whatever their decision is (while also submitting to His Father’s Will). And when He is on the cross, with two thieves beside Him (Luke 23), Jesus doesn’t seek to free the criminal who acknowledges Him as Lord by getting Him down from the cross. Instead, Jesus responds with the words, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 24:43, ESV).

So Jesus doesn’t come to earth to change the face of society: He comes to change the face of man’s eternity. As He told Pilate, “My kingdom IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36, ESV).

We see that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were not centered so much on the here-and-now as they were centered on eternity. Jesus didn’t come to spare us from the trouble of this life—but from the trouble of the NEXT. His death was so we wouldn’t have to suffer a SECOND DEATH...BUT, we would STILL have to suffer the FIRST death because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden and God’s promise to them (Gen. 2:16,17). And, let’s not forget what He told the disciples:

“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone...I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. IN THE WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TRIBULATION. BUT TAKE HEART; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” (John 16:32, 33, ESV).

If you look at the quote above (from the book), Kostenberger says something that I find intriguing. I’ll reproduce the quote here:

“As a testimony to the PERMANENCE OF MALE LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH, the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed on the foundation of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14; cf. Eph. 2:20)” (213).

James Borland is quoted here by Margaret Kostenberger as providing a major reason why it is important that Jesus chose twelve MALE apostles. But Borland overlooks something, and so does Kostenberger: the Scripture references themselves.
Let’s look at Ephesians 2:19-20 (ESV):

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone...”

Notice that the apostles are a part of the foundation(as recorded in Rev. 21:14); however, look at the foundation mentioned in Ephesians 2:20—it is not just built on the APOSTLES, but “the apostles AND PROPHETS...” So the prophets are a part of the foundation of the household of God; and the prophets consisted of not just men, but also women: Huldah, Deborah, etc. In the New Testament, the apostles were not the only ones in leadership: the prophets were as well (see Acts 15:32 with regards to the decision of the Jerusalem Council).

In addition, notice something else: the names inscribed are JEWISH, not GENTILE. Let’s go to Revelation 21:

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates, twelve angels, and on the gates THE NAMES OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL WERE INSCRIBED...and the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were THE TWELVE NAMES OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE LAMB” (Rev. 21:10-14, ESV).

Not only are the names of the twelve apostles inscribed, but also the names of the tribes of Israel—and all are Jewish. Not a single one is Gentile. So, if there is a PERMANENCE OF MALE LEADERSHIP established in the church, it would be the permanence of JEWISH MALE LEADERSHIP, and not Gentile male leadership. Jesus first came to His own people, the Jews, and He even told the disciples to first go to the houses of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6); only after His resurrection and ascension did Christ send the Twelve to all the Gentile nations (“Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth,” Matthew 28).

But, as Scripture shows us, Jesus came to break down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:14-15); and in the same way that He broke down the division of Jew and Gentile, as Galatians 3:28 tells us, Christ also broke down the division between slave and free and “male” and “female.” And this is made clear when Paul refers to a female apostle in Romans 16:7—


Did you see that? Not only is Junia an APOSTLE, but she is WELL-KNOWN, outstanding among them. If the establishment of male leadership was inherent, why then, does Junia receive the title “apostle,” Junia being a WOMAN?

I have written a few posts on this blog referring to Junia, and the attempts of complementarians (particularly Southern Baptists) to eradicate Junia, give her a sex change, and RENAME HER “JUNIAS”!!!

Junia is a problem for complementarians; for if Junia really was an apostle, then she trumps their idea of MALE LEADERSHIP. For those who wanna see the evidence out there in favor of Junia (as well as my refutation of a CBMW article by David Jones), read my posts in the section called “Junia or Junias?”

I read Margaret Kostenberger’s book, hoping to find something that would trump the arguments made by egalitarians; but I didn’t find anything. All I found was more of the same. I think that’s the fundamental flaw of the complementarian view—the reader ALWAYS expects more evidence for their view to float to the surface, but it never does...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments should only be made related to the passages and issues discussed on the site. Biological arguments against women and men, name-calling, or violent religious language (or violent language in general) will not be tolerated.