Category Archives: Complementarianism

Meat and Potatoes

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Lord willing (and assuming the flesh is not too weak to frustrate things) I’m returning to blogging here after a long hiatus occasioned by (among other things) diminished health. As before, I intend to comment – mostly polemically – against sexual insanity in the world and in the Church as well as against sexual shilly-shallying among those who deem themselves to be guardians of evangelical Protestant orthodoxy in America (and, occasionally, in Europe).

But, to this I intend to add a focus not heretofore present in this blog, namely to begin pounding out something I have long complained was absent within Broadly Evangelical American Protestants (hereafter BEAPERs). When it comes to things sexual, BEAPERs lack the meat and potatoes of the subject. They are like a gaggle of culinary amateurs who stumble upon the Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery (check out the customer reviews!). But, rather than learning from it, they simply display it prominently in their kitchens while they make endless creations out of Jello and Cool-whip.

In this case, however, the situation is worse. The religious feminists are now firmly in charge of BEAPER-land. They prominently display the Bible in their offices of power, but they never learn from it. Instead, they’re taking their cues from the World’s latest fashions tregarding he sexual analogs to Jello and Cool-Whip, as it were.

So, since BEAPERs won’t do serious theology about sex, I’m going to  undertake that project in this blog, toward two ends:

First, whenever I find a serious effort to do theology about the Bible and sex, I’m going to attempt to engage these works in this blog, in blog-sized chunks. Second, I am going to use this blog as a sort of “test kitchen” for my own contribution to the conversation I think has been badly needed for a very long time. That contribution will be to bring to completion a book I’ve had steeping on the back burner for over a decade now: The Masculinity of God.

I think I’ll begin in the next blog by introducing a work by Matthew Lee Anderson in which he attempts a preliminary engagement of a theology of the body. His subject is broader than human sexuality, of course; but, human sexuality must needs be a large idea in his discussion. So, I propose to take his book, chapter by chapter, summarizing what I find in it of significance for the building of a Christian orthodox consensus on sexuality generally, endorsing anything I can support as orthodox and Biblical, and criticizing some things (not everything) I find heterodox or sub-Biblical. Perhaps Matthew may eventually find his way over here and offer his own replies to what I present about his work.

Interested? Stay tuned. You won’t have to wait long.


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Filed under Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, Feminism, Patriarchy

Palin and Evangelicals

The following is a transcript of an address by Fr. Bill, delivered in a chapel service at an evangelical seminary on October 1, 2008. Citations for quotes were not provided during the delivery of this address, but are included in hyperlinks below.

Thank you for that welcome. It is a honor to speak with you this evening, about something I suspect you have already been talking about among yourselves for several weeks now: Sarah Palin.

Within a couple of days after Palin’s debut as a vice-presidential running mate, the internet forums that I regularly read and my wife’s email inbox began to fill with anxious queries from those who were obviously conflicted by Palin’s meteoric rise to national fame. For those of us who have contended for the truth of the Bible about the sexes, Sarah Palin has become the perfect storm.


We have watched for someone like Sarah Palin for the past 25 years. Our ministry originated at the end of the 1980s, when secular feminism was consolidating its cultural supremacy in America. By that time, the feminist world-view had its hands firmly on all the levers of secular power: state and federal legislatures and the courts, the public education establishment from kindergarten through graduate schools, the media in all its forms – film, radio, television, newspapers, and magazines.

And at the end of the 1980s, secular feminism presented itself at the door of the church for baptism. From the 1990s to the present day, religious feminism has recreated American evangelicalism in its own feminist image..

In 2006 Wayne Grudem, a founder of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, published a book entitled Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? I do not know if he meant his title to be ironic or not. When you read his book, you find an air-tight case that Evangelical feminism is liberalism. And at the end of his book, Grudem lays out the evidence for the triumph of feminism in American evangelicalism, a triumph as complete as feminism’s triumph in secular culture by the end of the 1980s.

Today, by Grudem’s analysis, feminism reigns in all the evangelical institutions – its seminaries (this current seminary is a very rare exception), as well as its publishing houses, its mission boards, and its parachurch organizations.

Just a year before Grudem published that book, Russell Moore, the Dean of the Theology School at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville observed, “Egalitarians are winning the evangelical gender debate, not because their arguments are stronger, but because, in some sense, we’re all egalitarians now.” He is right. With exception of the Southern Baptist Convention and isolated independent congregations scattered about, evangelicals are virtually egalitarian today.

But, even a voice from the Southern Baptist Convention has recently dismayed and confused many by giving away the farm to the feminists who demand surrender.  Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptists’ flagship seminary in Louisville, had this to say on one of his recent blogs  that comments on Sarah Palin’s national candidacy:

The New Testament clearly speaks to the complementary roles of men and women in the home and in the church, but not in roles of public responsibility. I believe that women as CEOs in the business world and as officials in government are no affront to Scripture. Then again, that presupposes that women — and men — have first fulfilled their responsibilities within the little commonwealth of the family.

Mohler – and many evangelical leaders like him, including many leading complementarians such as James Dobson and CBMW’s current director David Kotter  – all unite in what they view to be a silence in Scripture concerning women in the public square, a silence that allows evangelical women to fulfill the feminist ideal – that is, the virtual interchangeability of men and women in social roles and functions. According to these complementarian leaders, the headship of males is something restricted to home and family, the private spheres of personal faith, while outside these spheres women may do anything a man may do, including to lead the most powerful nation on earth.

But why should the little commonwealth – Mohler’s term for the family – why should that little commonwealth limit the roles of men and women, while the great commonwealth liberates men and women to be all they can possibly be? Why should the church organize itself along gender lines when the world insists that a person’s sex is so irrelevant that women should serve in the armed forces, including combat roles?


Kotter of CBMW is wrong. Palin poses a critical dilemma to evangelical Protestants in America. On one hand, her pro-life values encourage evangelicals who have fought long and hard since the days of Francis Schaeffer against the slaughter of millions of defenseless children. Sarah Palin’s fecundity encourages those who take the Bible’s opinion at face value, that children are a blessing from the LORD. Her refusal to abort her last pregnancy when she learned that Trig had Downs’ syndrome shows that her pro-life values are genuine rather than politically expedient.

Yet, at the same time, Palin is not like Geraldine Ferraro or Hillary Clinton. Those women entered the contest for political office after their child-rearing days were completed. Sarah Palin launched her political career with children still at home. She completed a speaking engagement after her water broke with Trig, and after the speech she flew back across the continent to Alaska to give birth. Three days after that, she was back in her governor’s office.

But, the most powerful challenge to evangelicals comes from Palin’s ardent feminism. When asked about the care of her children, she replies, “Why not ask the other governors about their parenting?” Of course, she means the other governors who are men. Her retort arises from the premise that fathers and mothers are interchangeable. She further comments that there should be “no doors women should not walk through” and she exulted in her first national speech as a vice-presidential candidate that her election would “shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

And, so Sarah Palin presents evangelicals with a tightly packed conundrum. How shall we parse it? What are we to make of it, no matter how we vote on election day?


Before I answer that question, I must dismiss an answer, one that many complementarians offer to justify their delight with Palin’s position on the national horizon. Many point to Deborah as the precedent for someone like Sarah Palin.

But, you do not have to look closely at Deborah to learn that Deborah is no precedent for Sarah Palin.

Deborah did not mince words that it was the cowardliness of Barak and other men in Israel that made her ministry needful in the first place. It was Deborah who praised those men in Israel who finally showed up for the fight, a fight in which she resolutely refused to participate. At Barak’s pleading, she accompanied him as far as the battlefield, but she refused to join him on the battlefield. Deborah did not run around the battlefield in a chariot, as so many starry-eyed feminist evangelicals suppose. Instead, she exhorted the wimpy Barak do his duty as a judge.

Deborah never crowed about breaking glass ceilings. Deborah never demanded that all doors open to men must also be open to women. Deborah was one unconventionally deployed mother among millions of mothers in the midst of a thoroughly patriarchal culture. Sarah Palin is just one more feminist among of millions of feminists in the midst of a thoroughly feminist society. Deborah is a whale in a bathtub, while Palin is a guppy in the Atlantic. There is no parallel, no point of contact between Sarah Palin and the wife of Lappidoth.


On the other hand, there is a character in the Book of Judges whose career sheds light on a phenomenon like Sarah Palin. That character is Samson, and Palin’s impact on evangelicals parallels Samson’s impact on the Israel of his day. I can see all your eyebrows crawling toward your hairlines, but hear me out.

The significant similarities between Samson and Palin are these:

First, both Palin and Samson embody conflicting values that spring from antagonistic agendas. Samson was the LORD’s anointed set against the Philistines who ruled over God’s people. On the other hand, Samson wallowed in unclean food, unclean sex, and a penchant for sleeping with the enemy and then slaughtering the enemy.

Palin doesn’t hold an office in the Church by virtue of divine commissioning, but she is certainly recognizable as “one of us” who champions values and agendas that evangelicals are known to champion (i.e. pro-life values). And, yet, like Samson who repudiated the holiness God demanded from Israel, Palin repudiates two millennia of Apostolic faith and practice concerning how women should advance the kingdom of God. She would have women move out of the domestic realm into the public arena.

It’s the audience in that public arena that alerts us to Palin’s most long-lasting impact. In Samson’s case, it is clear that the LORD wanted to upset the cozy truce Israel had forged with her Philistine rulers. Samson’s provocations against the Philistines should have rallied Israel to repent of their sins and to throw off the pagan oppressors.

Instead, Israel tied Samson up and delivered him to the Philistines, to protect their own peace and safety under Philistine rule. The only good that Samson achieved was to temporarily discomfit the Philistines. Meanwhile, Samson’s career occasioned a great hardening of Israel’s heart. Israel preferred peace under Philistine rule rather than to rebel against God’s enemies.

In a similar way, Palin is pushing evangelicals to a crucial choice. Today, evangelicals are double-minded in a way that Israel was double-minded during Samson’s days. Evangelicals are enchanted with religious feminism, but they are troubled when a mother of five, four of whom are still at home, leaves her family to rule Alaska, and now America; leaves her compliant husband to raise the kids while she attempts to lead the world’s most powerful nation. The old feminists used to think they could have it all, until bitter experience showed them they were wrong. Now Sarah Palin is declaring that women can, indeed, have it all – or, at least, the trappings of it all.

The outcomes for evangelicals are the same as the outcomes on Israel when it was challenged by Samson’s contradictions. On one hand, evangelicals should look at Palin and repent of their double mindedness about the sexes, repent of their lip service to motherhood and family, to repent of cheering their wives and daughters who compete with men in the public arena.

On the other hand, evangelicals might harden their hearts. Evangelicals might unite with secular feminists in proclaiming that the Bible is wrong, outmoded, and dispensable as far as anything it says about the sexes in marriage, family, church, and society.

Palin presents evangelicals with a fork in the road. One path abandons the faith once delivered to the saints. The other path leads first to repentance, and then to taking up the cross and following Christ through the hatred that the world always aims at Christ and those who follow him.


If anyone sets out on the right road, the first steps will be steps of repentance. I cannot possibly expound in detail all the areas where double-minded evangelicals and confused complementarians need to repent. Perhaps you can think of some of those areas now. Perhaps the Spirit of Christ is even now showing you areas of repentance especially pertinent to your own double-mindedness or confusion.

However, I wish to quickly note three areas where evangelicals generally are in desperate need of repentance as we face the future that Sarah Palin will usher in, no matter whether she is elected or not.

First of all, evangelicals must repent of the confusion about the struggle within our churches over the nature and meaning of the sexes. One hopeful sign of this kind of repentance was offered by Dr. Russell Moore in February of last year. During a conference in Minneapolis, Dr. Moore said this:*

We have to understand that this [debate about the sexes] is not an intramural debate. Quite frankly, that’s the way we’ve been treating it for too long. We’ve been treating it like the kind of conversation dispensationalists and covenant theologians may have with one another. … That is not what is taking place.

What we have to ultimately understand is that the Gospel itself is patriarchal. It has to do with the Fatherhood of God, a Fatherhood that is not abstract, a Fatherhood that is not theoretical, a Fatherhood that the entire Bible lays out as a God who is giving a covenant inheritance to his Son. It is not just the individual texts; it’s the whole trajectory of Scripture,…

Related to this observation by Dr. Moore is yet another repentance that evangelicals sorely need – to repent of their acceptance of egalitarianism as just another valid form of Christianity. In 1923, Princeton professor G. Gresham Machen published his book entitled Christianity and Liberalism. The book’s very title announced its thesis that Christianity and liberalism were different religions. Today we badly need a chorus of evangelical leaders to proclaim that Christianity and egalitarianism are different religions.

There is no book out there entitled Christianity and Egalitarianism, but you can find a few voices proclaiming this very unwelcomed thesis in the evangelical wilderness. One of them is Dr. S. M. Hutchens, a senior editor of Touchstone and a regular blogger at Touchstone’s blog Mere Comments. Of all Touchstone‘s editors, Hutchens has brought the most trenchant indictment of egalitarianism as a false faith. Recently, he offered these words in Mere Comments:

Because of the relation of God and man in Christ, any anthropological heresy also inescapably infects theology and becomes a theological heresy as well . . . . A Christ who is Human in the egalitarian sense cannot be Man in the orthodox sense, [The egalitarian Human Christ ] is merely the apotheosis of the egalitarian ideal. He cannot be the head of the man as the man is the head of the woman as God is his own head. The ordinal relations of which the Apostle spoke, and in which the Church believes, are utterly broken on the egalitarian wheel. That is why egalitarianism is a heresy and no orthodox Christian can be an egalitarian.

Dr. Hutchens knows, as you and I know, there are many who claim to be authentically Christian and egalitarian, and to their own unexamined hearts that claim appears credible. But, the human capacity for duplicity, self-deceit, and equivocation is almost infinite. That is why such folk must repent if they are to ever see the Kingdom of God. Their doctrine is a lie, and our Lord was shockingly clear that outside the eternal Jerusalem are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. [Rev. 22:15]

Is egalitarianism a lie? I submit to you that it is one of the most basic of all lies. Egalitarianism is one diabolical answer to Satan’s perennial question: Hath God said …?

Is woman created from and for the man? Or are men to submit to women in all ways that woman submit to men?

Does Paul restrict women from teaching or exercising authority over men? Or, should women serve as elders and bishops, ruling men and teaching them as officers of the church?

Are women a weaker vessel? Or are they warriors, as Carolyn Custis James tells us?

Is a woman’s domain private and domestic, as Paul tells us in Titus 2? Or should she excel as a corporate CEO, or as a president of the United States?

Did God really mean it when he declared it a shame for a nation to be oppressed by children and ruled by women? Or is that idea simply the whining of an ancient patriarchal prejudice?

In another place on Touchstone‘s blog, Dr. Hutchens explains why he is willing to incur the wrath, indignation, and scorn of the evangelical academy, for identifying egalitarianism as the enemy of the gospel. Here’s what he had to say:

There was a time when I was much younger that I hoped all this wouldn’t be so. How much more friendly and comfortable and status-filled life might have been if I had not come to the convictions on this that I did, for believe me, I am an unpopular man, and don’t enjoy being ill thought-of by nice people with whom I would like to be friendly. But to hell with all that: life is short, and I must soon give an account of myself and my teaching to the Lord. I would rather experience some discomfort in this life than to have him identify me as a coward, a toady, and a false teacher.**

And there, my friends, is the third area where evangelicals need desperately to repent: evangelicals simply must repent of their infatuation with the applause of the world. And, the world applauds wildly when those who name the name of Christ repudiate the obvious and expansive patriarchy of the Bible – and not just the Bible, but what the Bible says to bind the consciences of Christians as to their relationships with one another in marriage, family, church, and public society.

And if we repent of this infatuation with the world and its applause, what must we embrace instead? Again, the New Testament is riddled with the answer. We must take up our crosses and follow Christ. We must confess, defend, and believe that those who would live godly in this age will be persecuted. We must believe that our Lord spoke truly when he told us that in this world we would meet persecution. And, we must also heed his exhortation not to fear, for he has overcome the world.

For some of you here, I have said some dismaying things. Sarah Palin and her debut may lead, eventually, to a revival of godliness. Or, history may look back on this election season as God’s judgment on evangelicals for their culpable double-mindedness. Sarah Palin may, in fact, be a strong delusion for a people who had eyes but would not see, and ears that would not hear. Time will show us eventually what sort of legacy Sarah Palin leaves in her wake.

But tonight, I hope you understand that whatever Sarah Palin turns out to be for evangelicals, you have in your hands an opportunity that most American Christians have never seen – the opportunity to obey our Lord in a time of great darkness, in a nation whose Christians are being sifted as wheat. If you can find the grace to be faithful when faithfulness will most certainly cause you to be marginalized and mocked, you can by your faithfulness lay a foundation of righteousness for your children and grandchildren.

We did not come to this situation quickly. And, we will not recover from it quickly. But, absent the Lord’s return, the time will come when the double-mindedness and confusion that characterizes evangelicalism today will blow away – first by the cleansing wind of persecution for righteousness’ sake, then by that same mighty Wind that vivified Christ’s Body at the beginning. The righteous will get more righteous yet, the filthy more filthy yet.

And that future day of spiritual health and cultural vitality is in your hands tonight. The revival of godliness always has a season of preparation, in which the Holy Spirit works through those who are usually never seen, those whose faith and faithfulness are the seeds of righteousness that flourish years, perhaps decades, later.

With Sarah Palin planted at the fork in the road, God grant that you shall choose the right path.  And may he  give you grace to persevere upon it for the sake of the Church in a later generation.

Again, thank you so much for this opportunity to speak to you.

*Moore’s remarks are contained in an MP3 file available here.  A transcription of the relevant portion of the audio file may be found here.

**Hutchens’ talent for speaking straightforwardly in this way may be seen in a recent blog entitled “Naming Heresy” wherein he not only explains why egalitarianism merits the label heresy, but he also takes to task those evangelical leaders who know that egalitarianism is heresy but fail to say so forthrightly in their public communications.


Filed under Complementarianism, Egalitarianism

Why Can’t We All Get Along?

Why can’t we all get along?I think the conversation in the previous blog (“Tuning Forks, Iconic Men, and Masculine Resonance”) has pretty well run its course.  I thank Seamus and Michael both for their spirited exchanges in the comments. 

I’ll not engage each of Seamus’ criticisms as Michael has attempted to do.  Rather, I’ll indicate briefly why I mostly discount his criticism.  My reasons further explain how I answer a common plea offered by squishy complementarians and egalitarians alike ― why can’t we just get along?
First an observation on Seamus’ reliance on logic …

Time will temper that confidence, though it may take a while.  I had similar confidence in logic at that age, and it took me a couple of decades to retreat from it.  Actually, it’s not logic per se that captured my imagination.  Rather I was captivated by what I supposed was its short, straight route to truth. 

I eventually acknowledged what I heard at the age of 21 from the head of my undergraduate philosophy department (philosophy was my major):   “Logic makes nothing true.  It is a vehicle you may use to travel anywhere you please.  The most rigorously logical conclusions may be false; and the most illogical conclusions may be true.” 

Next, Seamus’ and others of his generation, when they offer their services as a guide to the unlearned (or, the illogical), lack standing for two reasons:  their youth, and the  parochialism that attends youth.  It’s the parochialism, the historical provincialism (a common feature of youth), that renders  egalitarians’ advice suspect.  In the case of egalitarians who are a tender 19 years old, I concur with Michael that their entire intellectual, moral, and cultural compasses are fashioned, formed, informed, and motivated by a feminist gestalt. 

The result?  They do not even understand the things we’re discussing here. 

You see, the world underwent a Copernican-like change in the area of the sexes before today’s crop of 20-somethings was born, and they are members of the second generation to be reared entirely within an educational, legal, cultural (and, probably, ecclesiastical) matrix that itself is commitedly feminist.  When people like Michael and me, who actually inhabited a pre-feminist culture, listen to apologists of the ascending feminist culture, we recognize that they do not know what WE are talking about as they critique the remnant of Western patriarchal values.

For two millennia, ever since the days of the Apostles, the Church has confessed and  taught and practiced the idea that men and women are profoundly different, that these differences are constitutional, divinely designed, and more than merely biological, that the moral and social dimensions of sexual distinctives are the critical differences for human happiness, productivity, and spirituality.  Oddly, the Church has never defended these ideas for the simple reason that they were never challenged until the mid 1950s!

In the current disagreements between the sexually orthodox and the egalitarians, our convictions conflict with those of the baptized feminists (aka “egalitarians”) in ways that show up in the disagreements between Seamus (and those who analyze things as he does) and Michael (along with myself and others like us) concerning the notion that men are saviors in ways that women are not and never should be.  But, these disagreements are, finally, “symptoms” of a far more fundamental disagreement about the nature and relationship of the sexes.  
However, the overwhelming reason we discount the egalitarian critique is this:  when it comes to matters where the Christian faith offers true certainty ― based not on logic, but on authority ― egalitarians dismiss this authority.  In the final analysis, Michael and I (and others like us) accept the Bible’s authority where it speaks to the issues under discussion here.  Modern-thinking folk like Seamus do not.

How do I know this?  A couple of touchstones are sufficient.

First of all, the idea that men are divinely created saviors arises from Biblical narrative, pattern, precedence, and prescription.  Peter tells us, for example, that women are “the weaker vessel.”  Seamus argues with vigor  that they are as strong as men.  Why should I credit him when Christ’s Apostle has spoken in contradiction to his profession? 

Another example ― Seamus is offended that Michael draws a conclusion from his boast that he wears his hair as long as Aragorn.  Then he dismisses Michael with a litany of contrary examples from history.  Leaving aside whether the historical evidence he adduces is factually accurate (about Jesus’ hair, for example) or relevant, Christ’s Apostle tells us flat out that long hair is a shame to a man.  Seamus glories in it.  What conclusion (we’re supposed to be logical, right?) am I supposed to draw about Seamus’ relationship to Apostolic teaching?  That he feels no shame with long hair is irrelevant.  I’m sure he feels no any shame at all.  But, either Paul or Seamus are correct; one of them must be wrong (logic again, right?).  I choose Paul; Seamus does not.   

That he chooses as he does is a touchstone for me as I ponder his view of the Bible.  If the Bible tells me that women are weaker than men, that long hair is a shame to a man while it is a glory to a woman, if it tells me and shows me a great many similar kinds of things about the nature and relationship of the sexes, I will take those things as a starting point in my ponderings on the implications. 

Egalitarians do not do this.  They routinely dismiss egalitarian-unfriendly narrative, patterns, precedents, and prescriptions in the Bible.  This is one reason Michael and I discern the feminist framework from which Seamus critiques us.  We’ve heard these kinds of critiques many times before, from those who do not quibble with wearing the feminist moniker.


Filed under Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, Feminism

Hair and Worship

Yes, the two are connected, as one quickly learns from Paul’s exhortation on the veiling of women in 1 Corinthians 11.  The issue pops up via Britney Spear’s recent escapades regarding her own hair.

This is really glorious, dontcha think?The Bayly  Brothers Blog takes note of Britney Spears’ shaving her head, as reported at the BBC news site.   In that story, the reporter asks “So why is hair – particularly long hair – viewed as such a defining part of a woman and inextricably linked to femininity?” 

In this question, Pr. Bayly sees an opportunity for evangelism, and cites Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16.  And in the comments to their blog, a fellow named Kevin asks:

Can anyone explain to me what verse 10 means? I find this entire passage confusing (the wording is clear, the rationale not quite so clear), however, verse 10 seems to pop up out of no where.

So you don’t have to look it up, verse 10 is where Paul says a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head “because of the angels.”  Kevin is asking what the angels have to do with anything in this passage.  Here’s my answer:

The Larger Context of the Veil

Verse 10 doesn’t make much sense, nor any other isolated verse in this passage, unless it’s taken all together.  The overall context for these verses is the same as for the entire section of the first Corinthian epistle beginning at chapter 11 and running through chapter 14 – viz. the parish assembled for worship. 

Previously, it is been various problems/issues/questions dealing with life among the body generally.  Chapter 11 begins a section of the epistle dealing with disorders during the assembly for worship.  Chapter 11 itself treats two disorders of deportment: the veil and disorder at the Eucharist.

Glory and Shame, Worship and Culture

Within vv. 2-16, Paul treats “glory” and “shame” as they apply to the traditions Paul has delivered to the Corinthians concerning their worship, particularly the veil.  It’s not just that the women were ignoring to veil during worship, their doing so was particularly shameful in that context.

Some think that the women were throwing off local Greco-Roman proprieties, but this is not true.  A wealth of literary, statuary, numismatic, and visual representations (frescos and other paintings in homes, temples, and the public square) demonstrate that a covering on women was not an expectation of women generally in Greco-Roman culture. 

On the other hand, it was an expectation of women in Oriental culture, including the Jews, whose women were recognizable in North Africa in the second century because of their veiling in public.  

The point:  When Paul delivered the custom to the Corinthians, and to the rest of the Churches (vs. 16), he was introducing a practice that was counter-cultural to Greco-Roman practices.  The Corinthian women were not throwing off their own culture, they were following it in opposition to what Paul had taught them to do during worship.

Why did Paul prescribe the veil? 

Two reasons.

Reason No. One arises from the purpose of the assembly, namely to give glory to God.  In that context, the humans are not only giving glory, they are someone else’s glory.   Man is God’s glory, woman is man’s glory, and (this is key to avoid confusion), the woman’s long hair is her glory.  In the assembly there are three glories present:  God’s, man’s, and the woman’s.

This woman displays a glory that Spears discarded.But, if the purpose of the assembly is to give glory only to God, then God’s glory should be unveiled, and others’ glory should be veiled.  The veil on the woman’s head covers two glories.  She veils herself (because she is man’s glory), and simultaneously it veils her long hair (because it is her own glory).  The man remains unveiled, because he alone is God’s glory, and so it is appropriate for him to remain unveiled. 

But, humans are not the only ones present when assembly is gathered for worship, and that brings us to reason No. Two:  also present are angels, probably great numbers of them if we are to take our cue from those places in Scripture which describe their multitude in these kinds of settings.  And, while they are unseen by the human worshipers, they nevertheless are part of the assembly and they participate in its purpose.

“Because of the angels” points back, at a minimum, to what Isaiah saw in the Temple and described in Isaiah 6.  Like Elisha’s servant on the mountain, Isaiah’s capacity for visual perception was so altered that he saw what was objectively there, but ordinarily obscured from human sight.  Similarly, when we worship in our assemblies, angels assemble along with us. 

At the end of the preface to the Prayer of Consecration in the Anglican Eucharist, the priest acknowledges the presence of the angels in the assembly.  At this point in the liturgy, the priest sings “Thus with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee and singing …”  at which point the congregation joins him to sing the Sanctus et Benedictus: 

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts
Heaven and earth are fully of Thy glory
Glory be to Thee O Lord Most High
Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest!

And, so, to herald their Lord at the beginning of the Eucharist, the saints sing the song of the Seraphim, and the portion of Psalm 118 that  greeted their Lord as He entered Jerusalem as the Son of David.  They are songs that have been heard by the Lord for centuries, sung to him on earth and in heaven, and in heaven by angels long before they were sung by the sons of men in His earthly dwelling places.

And so, it is “meet and right,” as the old Anglicans would put it, for the women to have a mark of authority on her head, because of the angels, creatures whose worship we join,  singing along with them in our worship, whose angelic sensibilities of propriety and rank are shocked in a worship service where any glory but  God’s is improperly on display. 

A couple of things in this passage are clearly matters about which Paul was not addressing himself directly. He did not write this passage to explain what bearing the angels have on the matter of veiling women in worship. For that matter, he did not write the passage in order to expound the meaning of “man, the glory of God,” or “woman, the glory of man.” Angels, man as God’s glory, woman as man’s glory, long hair as the woman’s glory – none of these are the subject of Paul’s exposition. Instead, he brings these concepts into the discussion, which is – to put it as simply as possible – to urge the Corinthian women to veil during worship.

Most teachers in the Church for the past 2000 years point back to Isaiah 6 primarily to validate the idea that the angels are present with men during God’s worship. Many commentators think that Paul also mentions the angels because they are marked by an almost militaristic ordering by rank and hierarchy. This was certainly a familiar idea in the popular angelology of that period of the Jews, and Paul himself seems to endorse this idea in principle by his mentioning of “principalities and powers” six different places in his epistles, including the mention of “thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” in Col. 1:16. “Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers” are categories of angelic ranks and hierarchies.

The point: the honoring of rank is a Big Deal Indeed among angels. If, therefore, they are present in our worship, it scandalizes them when man’s glory is displayed unveiled in an assembly where it is the assembly’s purpose to give glory to God.


Filed under Complementarianism, liturgy, Man, the glory of God, Woman, the glory of man

Seminaries: Pro and Con

Commentary on the recent blogs concerning Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the departure of a female professor of Hebrew from its theological faculty (see here  and here  below) surfaced issues relating to the purpose and value of seminaries as institutions for the training of pastors.  The history of seminaries as institutions is too vast for a blog, so I will confine my observations to modern evangelicalism and its seminaries, to highlight how these seminaries are fostering the dissolution of Protestantism in America.


These are easy to identify and to defend, and they are three:

Seminaries possess economies of scale.Economy of Scale.  An ecclesial communion (e.g. Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, whatever) which desires its future pastors to be trained to certain minimal standards can do so more efficiently by pooling resources (money, personnel, property) which benefit all the congregations of the communion.  At least, that’s the basic idea.  Megalopolis Presbyterian Church, with its 10,000 members and 50,000 square-foot office building beside its 7,000 seat sanctuary, and its $10 million annual budget could field its own pastoral training programs, satisfying not only its own needs, but also those of many other Presbyterian Churches.  And, perhaps, that is precisely what many Presbyterian Churches will do once more, even if they have significantly less resources than Megalopolis Presbyterian Church.  But, originally, seminaries as we know them today in America evolved as cooperative efforts of many congregations through denominational structures.

Seminaries permit a highly focused purpose.Focused Purpose.  A candidate for a pastoral vocation can concentrate his preparation into a relatively small amount of time.  Some of his studies (e.g. Hebrew and Greek) could proceed most effectively when he can compress the time invested to learn the basics.  By allotting full-time to studies, he far more quickly amasses many of the tools of his pastoral trade:  at a minimum, an overview of Bible, theology, and pastoral praxis.  No one ever supposed a seminary graduate is “finished.”  But, those who built and administered seminaries supposed that they were an efficient and effective way to lay a solid foundation for a life-time of ministry. 

Seminaries, at least initially, have a coherent curriculum.Coherent Curriculum.  Baptist seminaries don’t have courses (much less majors) in liturgics.  You don’t expect a Methodist seminary to require 12 semester hours of study on the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Missouri Synod Lutheran seminaries probably don’t offer a course entitled “Famous Papal Bulls and How They Have Shaped Our Faith.”  Roman Catholic seminaries don’t offer practicums on “Getting Slain in the Spirit.” 

Seminaries necessarily incarnate the spiritual life of the Christian community that gives them birth, as they arise out of a matrix of convictions based on the Bible and sharpened by the spiritual culture that passes on its life from one generation to another.  Seminaries exist to perpetuate the faith of previous generations to the next.


Seminaries have liabilities that correspond to their capabilities. 

Scale Pre-empts Sanctity.  What has greater spiritual credibility in the ordinary pew-sitter’s imagination: the 30 acre, $100 million campus, with its faculty of 150, its staff of 300, its 5 million volume library?  Or, the pastor of a congregation of 100, occupying 1 acre campus, with its staff of 3 volunteer secretaries, and, its 175 person sanctuary?  When the seminary’s faculty crank out 50 to 75 books a year, each of them with 30 pages of bibliography and three or four pages of footnotes in 8-point type at the end of everyone of the 25 chapters, who is going to listen to the pastor of that pipsqueak parish church when he objects to the seminary’s learned corps of Wise Men? 

After 20, or 30, or 50 years, who has a national reputation?  Pastor Buckeye of Podunk Community Church?  Or, the Rev. Dr. Augustus Scholasticus, Ph.D., Th.D., Th.M., Doodah Professor of Systematic Theology and Chairman of the Faculty Senate at Magna Presbyterian [or Baptist; or Methodist; or Episcopal; or Whatever Church] Theological Seminary? 

Purpose Pre-empts the Past.  Seminaries were originally created to perpetuate the faith and practice of earlier generations of Baptist Christians [or Presbyterians; or Catholics; or Methodists; or Whatever Kind founded the Seminary].  But, these schools invariably “morph” over time into institutions whose purpose is to perpetuate themselves and their ever-evolving notions of what pastors are supposed to think and do.  Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and similar schools had the preparation of orthodox clerics as their primary mission at their founding. 

S. M. Hutchens provides a succinct description of the evolutionary phases  through which these schools move from promoting the Christian faith to opposing the Christian faith.  First, there is the Confessional Phase.  Hutchens characterizes this phase thusly: “It knows why it exists, why this school is different from all other schools, and is energized by a missionary zeal that will without much hesitation eject teachers or administrators who do not cleave to its doctrinal and ethical Standards.”

This is followed by the First Embarrassment Phase, in which “the original denominational or confessional heritage of the school is downplayed—sometimes because of the difficulty of putting together a full or fully qualified faculty from the sect, but also because increased learning … frequently militates against its original beliefs.” 

Next comes “ … the Ecumenical Phase where the school opens its doors to other forms of Christianity. It begins hiring teachers who are not of its own tradition, claiming thereby to be serving the Church at large.” 

Following this is the General Religion Phase, in which “ … the school, surrounded by temptations to be ‘just like (academic) folks’ on every side, without firm doctrinal mooring or consensus, and with liberality as the administrative watchword” expects the faculty “ … to pledge allegiance to the conventional pieties of the group, but not adhere to a statement of doctrine.”  At the end of the General Religion Phase “ … the beliefs of the founders have become something to be lived down. Administrators and catalogs speak respectfully about the school’s denominational ‘heritage,’ while at the same time making it plain, in so many words, this is a relic of the past that nobody really needs to fash themselves about.”

Hutchens names the final stage in the school’s evolution as The Final Embarrassment Phase in which the ruse is completely abandoned.  “When the givers of the most substantial gifts are perceived not to object much, the school, with a nearly audible sigh of relief, abandons religion except perhaps as an object of study.”  At this point, the seminary’s modern, updated Purpose has completely pre-empted its Past.

Magisters Pre-empt the Magisterium.  In schools situated at what Hutchens calls the Confessional Phase, the professors are like the old Medieval Magisters, men licensed by the Church to transmit the communion’s received faith and practice.  The true magisterium — the ecclesiastical authority to teach and to defend the deposit of faith received from prior generations — rests with ecclesiastical officers, whose duty it is to promulgate and to defend that faith.  The seminary licensees, the professors, are understood by all to serve the church by faithfully transmitting that deposit of faith which the Church has inherited. 

But, here, Protestants display varying degrees of weakness that correspond directly to the way their ecclesial magisterium functions institutionally.  This is best understood by contrast with the Roman Catholic magisterium, which is vested in the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.  Whether one agrees with the Roman magisterium or not, it shows itself to have – in principle – the “machinery” for imposing the will of Rome’s Chief Pastor on Catholic seminaries.  When this has not been done, it is a failure of nerve on the part of Rome’s officers who have all the levers they could wish to correct errant schools or professors.

But, Protestants have far fewer levers to pull within their own institutions, and the more decentralized the ecclesial organization, the fewer the levers and the more difficult to exercise those that actually exist.  As explained above, the other liabilities of seminaries mitigate against anyone bringing them to task.

The consequence is that the seminary institution itself – at least among Protestants – becomes the de facto Protestant Magisterium.  And, as such, it is very difficult to reform.  If unreformed for long enough, a church school utterly escapes the ability of the Christian denomination to bring them to heel doctrinally.  One can see this most painfully within the Southern Baptists, who have “lost” several of their flagship educational institutions to secular (and, often, anti-Christian) agendas.  Where a Baptist seminary (such as SWBTS under Patterson; or Southern Baptist Theological Seminary under Mohler) is recovered to the service of Baptist orthodoxy, this is achieved only with the expenditure of much sturm und drang.  

What I have not considered yet is the fallout from seminaries whose path of devolution is marked primarily by a growing endorsement of modern religious feminism and growing opposition to the patriarchal cast of Biblical Christianity.  This, as it turns out, is pretty much the case with all evangelical seminaries today.  The consequences of this dismal fact is the subject of the next blog.


Filed under Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, Uncategorized

Compromised Complementarians Repent!

Patterson presiding over a faculty where women train men to be pastors.On January 19, 2007, the Dallas Morning News reported what was already spreading merrily through the blogosphere.  I could cite the facts from many such sources, but will confine my citations to this news source, which gave the central facts as these:

Conservative Southern Baptists are fighting again, this time over whether women should be able to teach men in seminary theology programs.  They agree that the role of pastor is reserved for men, based on a verse in 1 Timothy in which the Apostle Paul says, “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man.”

But some conservatives say Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, under president Paige Patterson, wrongly applied the verse to remove from its faculty Sheri Klouda, who until last year had been teaching men Hebrew in the seminary’s school of theology.

The print and digital media had a nice time with this, mostly by way of painting the seminary and its president and officers as theological Neanderthals, and the dismissed female Hebrew professor as yet another victim of The Patriarchy.

Now that the chattering classes have moved on to something else, I offer the following reflections.

Women Training Pastors?

This is de rigueur these days, but it has not been so until the feminists consolidated their reign over the academy about 30 years ago.  Before that, Protestantism generally consigned the training of their pastors to the academy.  So, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was unremarkable in having a woman on its pastor-training faculty. 

The truly remarkable thing was her presence on the faculty while the seminary, its president, and its Board all confess, teach, and defend the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, which contains within it the prohibition of what the Seminary was, in fact, doing – setting a woman to teach men on a theological faculty, particularly a theological faculty whose purpose is to train men for congregational leadership.  That sort of thing is usually called hypocrisy.

Why was this state of affairs not newsworthy?  I guess we’ll have to keep wondering.

Repenting from Hypocrisy

Was it news that the seminary, its president and Board, repented of hypocrisy?  Almost.  You see, they did change their minds (the essence of repentance) about the propriety of the female professor’s labors in that setting.  What made it all so newsworthy, of course, is the feminist-victim angle.  The press (another bastion of feminism) loves that sort of thing , as do those religious feminists who infect almost every corner of the religious academy. 

So, the story got reported like this:  “Woman victimized by Chauvinist Patriarchalists!”  The true story should be this:  “Compromised Complementarians Repent!  Dismiss Woman from Theological Faculty!”

I have no doubt that the whole episode is one Dr. Patterson and his Board would rather not have had to deal with.  In their favor, the victimized female was hired under the administration of Patterson’s predecessor.  But, no matter where the leadership for bringing the seminary’s words and works into congruence originated,  Patterson and the Board did the right thing:  they decided to walk the walk that comports with the talk.  On the contemporary scene, that’s rare, whether in the church or outside it.

Cherry-picking Baptists

Once the conflict between the seminary’s profession and its deeds was cleared up (in this area, at least), a commenter at the Dallas Morning News religion blog decided to level a different charge, providing a fascinating admission in the process:

I am a Baptist with a woman Sunday school teacher and she is fabulous. There are hundreds of women teaching men in hundreds of Baptist churches. So why make a big deal about a woman doing the same thing in a seminary?

If Paul’s instructions to Timothy are to be considered to be on the same level as God’s Ten Commandants, then ALL of Paul’s instructions should be followed: such as 2:9 which says that women should not braid their hair, wear gold or pearls or expensive clothes. And how about 2:15 when he says that women can ONLY be saved by having children! does this mean that my wife is going to hell? And what about 5:23 when he tells the deacons to drink wine!! 

We Baptists, and many other denominations, are practicing the pick and choose approach when it comes to our religious practices.

How refreshing!  I’m currently checking with the president of a flagship evangelical seminary in Dallas, to see if its talk comports with its walk, but while I await a response, I’ll congratulate this commenter on his candor. 

Of course, he is a virtually anonymous layman, so he can say such things and not suffer any consequences from indignant complementarian alumni.  Still, I suspect his cherry-picking approach to the Christian faith is pretty well dispersed among Baptists and evangelicals generally.  Cherry-picking is, of course, the standard hermeneutic for main-line Protestants of all varieties. 

Patterson after correcting the seminary’s compromised complementarianism.But, when recognizing a choice of remaining compromised or repenting, the Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth showed real integrity to the public, its alumni and other constituency, and to the LORD by correcting the mistake, even in the face of certain censure from the chattering classes. 

By the way, you may hear the sneering report that Dr. Patterson’s wife is still on the faculty at the seminary.  This is true, of course.  What you are usually never told is that she does not have any male students.


Filed under Complementarianism

May a Woman Be a Pastor?

Dr. Harold HoehnerDr. Harold Hoehner, distinguished professor of  New Testament studies  at Dallas Theological Seminary created a kerfluffle in some quarters with a paper he delivered at the November 2006 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.  I have not seen the paper, but Dr. James Hamilton, assistant professor of Biblical Studies at the Houston campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary expresses dismay with Hoehner’s paper in a blog dated a short time after the ETS meeting.  Dr. James HamiltonNoting that Hoehner’s view in the ETS paper is essentially the same as what he wrote in his commentary on Ephesians, Hamilton quotes from Hoehner’s commentary to summarize an idea in both the commentary and ETS paper:

Some may question the validity of women pastors or pastor-teachers, but it must be remembered that these are gifts and not offices. Surely, women who pastor-shepherd among women should cause no problem at all (Titus 2:3–4). But in fact, Priscilla, along with Aquila, taught Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:25–26) which would indicate that a woman may not be limited to teaching only women” (Ephesians, 546).

Hamilton then states the nubbin of his concern with Hoehner’s idea about women and the gift of pastor-teacher:  

It is shocking to me that Dr. Hoehner here expressly affirms that women can do what Paul expressly forbids them from doing in 1 Timothy 2:12. On the basis of an example recorded in the narrative of Acts, Dr. Hoehner is prepared to overturn a direct apostolic prohibition.

Several issues are entangled here:

  • Is pastor-teacher in Ephesians 4 a spiritual gifting, similar to other charismata?
  • If so, is pastor-teacher a gift given to men only, or to men and women alike?
  • If women can and do possess the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher, may such women so gifted serve as elders in the church?

Is Pastor-teacher a spiritual gift?

As a specific term, “pastor-teacher” appears in Ephesians 4:11, along with apostles, prophets, and evangelists. In these verses, it is the individuals who are said to be given by Christ, not gifts to individuals. The identification of these ministering persons (i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers) with the charismata of 1 Corinthians 12 follows from the latter passage expressly mentioning prophecy in a list of charismata.  From this fact, one might conclude that the other persons in Ephesians 4 possess corresponding charismata namely the charism of apostleship, evangelism, and pastor-teaching. 

Against this inference is the way Paul seems to speak to a related but different notion in 1 Corinthians 12 when he says that “God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, gifts of healings, … [etc.]” In fact, one commenter at Hamilton’s blog, Ray Van Neste, puts the point this way:

Even the labelling of the items in Eph 4 as “spiritual gifts” is suspect.  This passage does not lists ‘gifts’ in the same way that Paul does in 1 cor for example.  Eph 4 refers to people, not simply gifts.  Paul says Christ has given these people (even ‘offices’) to the church.  The background of the OT quote there supports this as well (particularly as argued by Gary Smith [JETS article several years back] and followed by O’Brien).

If “pastor-teacher” is not a gift, if it is not one of the things Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 12, then the question about “female pastors” becomes far less cogent.  But, for the moment, let’s assume that pastor-teacher is indeed a charism of the Spirit and ask the next question:

Is the gift of pastor-teacher given to women as well as men? 

In an absolute sense, we cannot say “yes” or “no,” for no statement of the New Testament expressly answers this question.  Our speculation would draw on two related questions:  (1) what would a gift of pastor-teacher look like in practice and (2) do we ever see women ministering in such a way? 

The ministry of a pastor-teacher seems fairly straight-forward: to teach in such a way as to promote and secure the spiritual maturity of those to whom one ministers with this spiritual gifting.  Hamilton cites several passages in the NT linking the notion of shepherding (in an ecclesiastical sense) to teaching, all of them rooted in Christ’s charge to Peter: “Feed my sheep.” Do women perform this function in the New Testament?  Titus 2 comes immediately to mind (older women ministering to younger women) as well as Lois’ and Eunice’s rearing of Timothy in the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 1:5). 

Priscilla’s alleged teaching ministry to Apollos is simply that — alleged.  Both Priscilla and Aquila are credited by Luke in Acts with a teaching ministry to Apollos, but nothing is known as to what if anything Priscilla had to do with teaching Apollos.  Egalitarians would have us believe that Priscilla conducted Bible class while Aquila served tea.  Even if this speculation were granted, it would hardly direct Apostolic prohibition of such a ministry, as one finds in 1 Timothy 2. 

Still, the teaching-shepherding work of the church falls as much to women as motherhood falls to women, whether it be biological motherhood (Eunice), extended-family motherhood (Lois), or “spiritual” motherhood (cf. 1 Tim. 5:2).  And if it is reasonable for women to do the work of pastor-teachers to others, it is no less reasonable to suppose the Holy Spirit would give a special gifting for this work to some of these women.

May women with a gift of pastor-teacher serve as elders in the church?

 Hamilton says “no,” arguing that elder and shepherd are so closely identified in the NT passages that a prohibition against women serving as elders would necessarily extend to a ministry as a pastor-teacher.   Again, if pastor-teacher is NOT a spiritual gifting on a par with the other expressly named spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, then the question about women pastors does not arise.  On the other hand, if one understands pastor-teacher as one of the charismata, this still does not force the conclusion that women may serve as elders, for that scope of ministry is expressly prohibited by Paul to women as far as men being the targets of such ministry.

 The standard egalitarian claim goes like this:  “If I am gifted for ministry X, then I am entitled to perform ministry X in the Church.”  This claim stated in this fashion masks a further claim, namely that to perform ministry X one must be able to perform that ministry toward any and all persons in the Church.  This is what Paul directly contradicts in 1 Timothy 2, where he prohibits women from teaching or exercising authority over men. 

Does this mean that no woman may have a spiritual gift of teaching?  Or a spiritual gift of pastor-teacher?  Of course not.  And, this was a point made by Charles Ryrie in a theology class in which I was enrolled at Dallas Seminary 30 years ago.  If Paul restricts the scope of a woman’s teaching ministry, this does not mean she has no teaching ministry.  If Paul restricts the scope of a woman’s ministry to rule over a certain domain, by excluding men from those domains Paul does not deprive her of all domains over which she may rule.  Paul never said women may not teach or exercise authority.  He said they may not teach men, that they may not exercise authority over men.  This is the chief complaint of the egalitarian that by circumscribing the scope of their teaching and ruling ministry, Paul has utterly denied women these ministries.

Fortunately for the Church, no one ever thought this way until the past 50 years or so.  Instead, women have been ruling and teaching with vigor, perseverance, and fruitfulness for about 20 centuries.  And, the Church is blessed by these women who taught and ruled their domains in accordance with the Law of Christ. 

The source of the confusion

Much confusion, and much occasion for egalitarian duplicity, arises from the way Baptists equivocate with the word “pastor.”  It is the standard term of art in their communion for what the Bible calls an elder, and what the Presbyterians call a teaching elder.  Having settled on “pastor” as the name of the chief minister in their congregations, Baptists’ commendable compliance with Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2 makes it difficult for them to speak of “pastoral ministry” being done by women.  If they speak of female pastors, this registers in Baptist ears as if women were entitled to serve as the chief officer of the congregation.  To avoid this notion, however, traditional Baptists speak with great reluctance about  women as doing pastoral work, thus providing egalitarian agitators with occasion to malign Baptist compliance with Pauline teaching on how churches should be organized and how ministry should be done. 

Christian communions which follow the Western catholic (note the small “c”) ecclesiology do not have this problem.  Romans, Lutherans, and Anglicans have a bishop (NT episkopos, an overseer) as the chief ecclesiastical officer whose ministry is carried out by his vicars (representatives) who are called priests or presbyters.  Local administrative ministry is vested in deacons (as the office was created in Acts). 

The point:  the terms used to designate these officers of the Church employ the same terms as the New Testament for those offices, leaving terms such as “pastor” and “pastor-teacher” to name ministries which are performed by officers and non-officers (i.e. laity).  In this terminological universe (derived from the  Bible) there is “room” to speak of women doing pastoral ministry or women possessing a gift of pastor-teacher without simultaneously saying that such women are (or ought to be) officers in the Church. 


Filed under Complementarianism, Egalitarianism