about the article on women

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about the article on women

Post by email » Tue May 09, 2006 9:26 pm

** see article here ** http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... rship.html

I have a question about the role of women as prophetesses. I in particular use the old testiment example Deborah. All of Israel came to her for answers. This would show that the men and women sought the Lord through her.

Also Anna the prophetess spoke about Jesus and his role to both Josph and Mary and whoever else was around.

I am just trying to get to some understanding about these things. I have a desire to be in line with scripture, but sometimes I think we don't fully understand the full counsel of God and may sometimes miss it.

Thank you for your time
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the difference was place and format

Post by m273p15c » Tue May 09, 2006 9:31 pm

This is a very good question. Thanks for bringing it up!

Truly Deborah taught men in the Old Testament. Does this contradict the command given in the New Testament? Since Paul used the Old Law as partial justification for his directive, we must conclude that Deborah, Anna, and other Old Testament prophetesses served in a capacity, which was consistent with the New Testament directive ("as also the law says", I Corinthians 14:34). Therefore, we must strive to find the harmony between these Old Testament examples and the New Testament command. ... Let us examine the examples and commands more closely to see if we can find some reason why these examples were not subject to the command reissued and expounded in the New Testament:
  1. Limited to the assembly - The context of Paul's command given in I Corinthians 14 is limited to the assembly ("Whenever you come together", v.26; "keep silent in the church", v.28; "let your women keep silent in the churches", v.34; "let them ask their own husband at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in the church", v.35). When we compare this to the examples and Anna, we notice that Debora sat under a palm tree, and people came to her. As for Anna, she simply "gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for the redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:36-38). Neither one of the examples provided offer any suggestion, much less proof, that Deborah or Anna spoke or directed an assembly.

    Does this mean a woman has unlimited reign to teach men outside of the assembly?
  2. Limited to "teaching over" a man - Notice that these passages do not say that a woman cannot teach, or even that she cannot teach a man. Instead, it shows that she is commanded not to "teach or to have authority over a man" (I Timothy 2:12). A woman's submission to the man prevents her from directing a class or preaching in assembly ("learn in silence with all submission", I Timothy 2:11; "for they are not permitted to speak, but they are to be submissive", I Corinthians 14:34), but it does not prohibit her from humbly answering questions in private, especially when a man comes to her for advice. This is the exact context of Deborah's prophesying and judging: "And she would sit under the palm tree ... and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (Judges 4:5).
Therefore, a woman may very well instruct a man, as long as she maintains her place of submission. As practical application, this can be accomplished if she limits herself to privately answering questions and asking questions, and if she avoids roles of instruction that include presiding over a class or assembly; controlling the direction, content, or tone of class; making arguments or refuting arguments; aggressive or heated discussions; etc. Each of these actions manifest leadership, which presumes authority over male participants.

Another good example of women serving in private teaching of adult males would be Priscilla. Aquilla and Priscilla, a husband and wife, together taught Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Admittedly, she taught with her husband who would have clearly taken the leading role, but she must have had some part in the teaching; otherwise, she would not have been mentioned.

This may seem a tight line and a difficult one to walk. Maybe that's why most of the women who exemplify this behavior were inspired. Certainly, that made it easier for the woman to decide what language would be submissive. :-) However, Priscilla does not seem to have been inspired, so we still have a positive example that a woman can privately teach a man, if a woman is careful to maintain her place.

Incidentally, Huldah (II Kings 22:13-15) is another good example of your point, very similar to Deborah. She served as a prophetess, but again, men were sent to her private abode. We have no record of her directing assembly, preaching, etc. Furthermore, Phillip the evangelist had 4 virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:8-9), but again, there is no evidence that they ever preached, directed an assembly, or ever taught over a man. Notice the pattern is that men came to these women privately asking questions. There is no record of these women preaching, directing an assembly, or teaching in any way that controlled, limited, or dominated the man.

Finally, please keep in mind that such women were the exception, not the rule. Far more men served in the place of prophet and teacher. The fact that female prophetesses are not even common knowledge speaks to this anomaly. Also, please notice that Deborah was forced into her position, because a man was unwilling to take his place as leader.

I pray that this answer will prove to be spiritually profitable to you. If you have any unanswered questions or concerns, please let me know. Like you, I want to understand God's will on this point, as in all points.

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Post by Maureen » Fri May 19, 2006 11:22 pm

I also have a question about the article. In one section it specifically states that "women are not to teach or have authority over a man." The article then goes on to speak about how the roles of men and women, while different, are completely equal. Forgive me if I seem naive, but unless 'a man cannot teach or have authority over a woman' I sincerely doubt that their is true equality. All the article did was seperate the rolls of men and women and, then because they were in different spheres and couldn't truely be compared the author said they were equal. So my question here is rather simple, are men and women equal, can a woman do anything a man can do? The article says absolutely not, and points to the exile from the garden, and how 'easily' Eve was decieved, but how Adam was not. Did I miss something, is Adam still in the garden?
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

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depends on how you define "equal"

Post by m273p15c » Sat May 20, 2006 5:18 pm

Hello Maureen,

These are very good questions, and they certainly demand worthy clarification of the article.
Maureen wrote:The article then goes on to speak about how the roles of men and women, while different, are completely equal. ... So my question here is rather simple, are men and women equal, can a woman do anything a man can do?
Just because two things are equal, that does not imply that they are identical in every way. Do you believe men and women are equal? Do you see any differences between men and women?

Whenever most people state that two things are equal, they generally have a context of limited equivalency in mind. (Granted you are pressing the claim of "complete equality", but I cannot find that assertion anywhere in the above posts or the referenced article.) Please allow me to illustrate how we generally use "equal":

Let's imagine that you place 100 lbs. of water on one side of a scale, while I place 100 lbs. of steel on the other side. Are they equal? Yes! But, are they the same? No! In regards to weight, they are equivalent, but in regards to virtually every other characteristic they are different. Consequently, depending on the situation, one side of the scale may be preferred over the other. They are no longer considered "equal", because the context has changed. For example, in regards to building an automobile, the steel may be considered more useful. In regards to bringing life to living things, obviously the water would be considered more useful. Can water do everything steel can do? No! But, does that mean they are not equivalent? It depends on what you are measuring...

No, women cannot do absolutely everything men can do, just like men cannot do absolutely everything women can do. This should be evident beyond argument. (Consider child birth for example...) If you are concerned that I am applying your test of "equality" beyond what you intended, then you are proving my previous point: When we assert equality or even a test for equality, we typically have a limited type of equality in mind.

Men and women are equal in what I would consider to be all essential ways:
  • importance, value, and necessity of role's performed
  • spiritual value before God
  • ability to understand, apply, and teach God's Word
  • spiritual heritage
Remember, that our gender differences are limited to this world. In heaven, we become like angels, having no gender (Matthew 22:30).
Maureen wrote:The article says absolutely not, and points to the exile from the garden, and how 'easily' Eve was deceived, but how Adam was not. Did I miss something, is Adam still in the garden?
:) No, you are correct. Adam was kicked out of the garden, because he sinned too. But, did they not play different roles in the fall? The Devil deceived Eve, and Eve influenced Adam (Genesis 3:1-6). Just as their sin brought physical death to all of humanity (Romans 5:12-14 - Incidentally, notice that Paul attributed the ultimate blame for the fall on Adam. He bore the blame of ultimate authority in their union.), their expressed roles in the fall apparently played some part in emphasizing even more distinctive roles for all of humanity (Genesis 3:16-19).

The fall does prove opportune in expressing our point: Adam and Eve both played different roles in the fall, but yet in all essential and ultimate ways, they were equal:
  • Both sinned.
  • Both were evicted from paradise.
  • Both suffered physically.
  • Both ultimately died physically as a consequence of their sin.
  • Both required redemption.
  • Both needed Christ's sacrifice to be saved.
  • Both had free access to justification through Jesus' death.
In closing, men and women have played and continue to play different roles in God's kingdom, but in His kingdom they are truly equal in regards to all things ultimate (Galatians 3:28).

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