Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blog link: Women pastors-An unbiblical practice

People who support women in the pastorate fall into one of two categories it seems. They either want to ignore/reinterpret the clear biblical teaching in I Timothy 2:12 or they have not done sufficient study on the issue and are unclear about what the Bible teaches. I wanted to pass along a blog link that I found extremely helpful on this issue. It is an interview with Dr. Andreas J. Köstenberger of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I highly recommend that you read the whole blog post here. However, here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite.

In the interview, Dr. Kostenberger discusses some of the grammatical features of the verse. He writes:
In terms of syntactical pattern, I conducted careful searches of the use of oude [Translated as the word or in the verse in question-joe] in the NT and in extrabiblical Greek literature and found over 100 parallels. In each case, oude serves as a coordinating conjunction linking verbs of like connotation: either both are positive, or both are negative. For example, in Matt 6:20 Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where . . . thieves do not break in and (oude) steal.” Notice that both “break in” and “steal” have a negative connotation, in the present case following a sequential pattern, thieves first breaking in and then subsequently stealing.The upshot, then, is the following: if didaskein (“to teach”) has a positive connotation and oude (“or”) always links verbs of like connotation, it logically (and syntactically) follows that authentein must have a positive connotation as well, thus invalidating the argument by most evangelical feminists. Paul prohibits not merely the negative exercise of authority by women over men in the church, but even the otherwise legitimate exercise of authority. Put simply, Paul wants men, not women, to serve as elders (confirmed in the immediate context by his reference to elders as “faithful husbands” in 1 Tim 3:2).

Further, he talks about other important considerations discussed in the book Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 (2d ed.; ed. Andreas J. K√∂stenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 53–84, 204–7. He writes:
In the fourth chapter, T. R. Schreiner, who has studied and written on these matters for decades, provides a careful discussion of the many exegetical issues that have been raised with regard to the interpretation of 1 Tim 2:9–15. In particular, he draws attention to the verses immediately following 1 Tim 2:12, where Paul clearly states his own rationale for stipulating that women are not to teach or have authority over men in the church: the order in which the first man and woman were created (the man first, then the woman; v. 13) and the reversal of authority that took place at the fall with disastrous consequences (v. 14). As Schreiner points out, most evangelical feminists do not adequately account for the way in which these verses clarify Paul’s prohibition in verse 12.

Over the short time that I have been blogging I have been utterly astonished that there are Southern Baptists and other evangelicals who question the clear teaching of scripture on this issue. I know this was one of the topics that led to the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. What amazes me is that there are people who hold to the unbiblical position that a woman can pastor a church who remain in the Southern Baptist Convention. Further stupefying is the fact that churches are allowed to remain in the SBC while having a female senior pastor. As anyone who has read this blog can testify, I am about as "undenomonational" as a person can get and I’m really not interested in all the SBC politics but I didn’t realize there was such a strong liberal strain in the SBC. I guess I need to get out more often.

Check out the entire blog post. You’ll be glad you did.


Lionel Woods said...

Hey Brother. Hope things are well after the move. Let me ask some questions and I really want to know how you respond. I am not being combative upfront but I truly want to understand what I am beginning to see or at least what I think.

1. Is it unbiblical to have a senior pastor? If the answer is yes would you call that liberal? I don't believe both can be right, either there is a plurality of some other model.

2. Can deacons lead the church as in many churches especially baptist. If not then is this liberal?

3. Why can so many people get divorces today remarry and still be allowed in the church living in adulturous relationships? If churches allow such a thing are they being liberal?

So my questions lead to this. What exactly can you violate in scripture and not be labeled liberal? We all have serious hills that we die on evidenced by over 24K denominations. And mass division within the body of Christ. Why is it that we allow some things to be swept under the carpet and they not be liberal but this issue makes someone liberal?

Joe Blackmon said...


First of all, thanks for visiting my blog. Also, thanks for the questions.

1-I concur that the pattern we see in the New Testament is a pluarlity of elders and that there doesn't seem to be a distinction of senior pastor. I'm not sure I would call the practice of having a senior pastor even with a plurality of elders liberal but I would agree that it doesn't follow the biblical model.

2-To me, the practice (which is all too commmon in SBC churches) of the deacons leading the church is also unbiblical but it seems to me to be more of a lable problem. They're beaing called deacons but functioning as elders. I don't think I'd call this liberal but more "confused".

3-I agree that the issue of divorce/remarriage and other sexual type sins (having babies out of wedlock, etc) are not dealt with biblically in many churches. I'm not sure "liberal" is the first word that pops in my head but it really would be liberal.

As to why we allow things to be swept under the rug and why some things are labeled "liberal" and others are not, to be honest, I'm not sure. I know we have to love one another and be willing to accept the fact that we're all sinners and none of us have a perfect understanding of God or the Bible. Further, as I said in my comment on your blog post about a woman who was pastoring a church that was some distance away from her I do think that is unbiblical. However, I find her attitude of wanting to serve and help people to be admirable.

I don't have all the answers and I don't even ask really good questions sometimes. I have a feeling that when we (the Church) get to heaven, we'll all have a good belly laugh about the things that we thought were so important that really weren't in the end.

Thank you for the comment and for your blog. You are a real encouragement to me.

Lionel Woods said...

Likewise brother. I am just curious. I am going to post something on lables in the next few days. I really feel like we are starting to have the "anethema" spirit today. Meaning. Whenever we don't agree we sort of say he/she/they are:

1. Liberal
2. Seeker Sensitve
3. Emergent
4. Compromising
5. Fill in the blank.

This goes on a bunch in the Christian circles and again we look more like what Paul was rebuking in 1 Corinthians 1 versus a unified body of believers with differences. The only thing I think I will divide are churches who are open to reinterpreting moral sins (homosexuality, etc...) and those who are denying the essentials of 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 3:21-27. There is such much inconsitencies even on those who don't believe women should teach that is almost comical.

Joe Blackmon said...

True. I agree there is too much division in the Body today. We seem to have an unwillingness to bear with someone who is more/less mature then we are or has a different opinion about spritual/theological issues than we do. Thanks so much for stopping by, brother.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog periodically. I am a woman. Let me just say I don't believe who may lead a church is a subject up for debate. I believe the Word of God is very clear on the matter, if we will allow ourselves to accept its teachings.

Up until about five years ago, I bristled whenever I read Timothy. I interpreted the scripture to be that Paul preferred not to allow women. Paul--what a pig! I'm glad I live in a more evolved time. Women can do anything they want. Yes, they can, BUT, what does scripture say about church leadership? All scripture is God breathed. It is inerrant, inspired words of God. It is not words of Paul. God set up an orderly system of leadership. This leadership pattern is both for the home and the church. God is an orderly God. Why would He set up an order for the home that would not hold true for the teaching of His truth? I believe if we all take the time to study scripture as in depth (and without our own emotions getting in the way) as we are called to, we all come to the same conclusion. God has set up His church to function in a particular hierarchy.

Joe Blackmon said...


Thank you for your points. I agree with you completely. While there are passages that talk about a woman teaching those passages do not mean that a woman can be the pastor in a church.

As an aside, when I mentioned that having women pastors in the SBC revealed a strong streak of liberalisim that I didn't realize was there I should point out that that comment primarily applied to SBC churches and those that left to form the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In my experience, those churches are also the ones that tolerate homosexuality to the point of saying that it isn't sinful.

Anonymous said...

As usual, you have taken the Timothy passage out of context. Paul was speaking to a specific people in a specific situation. They were living in an town that had a problem with temple prostitutes and desired that the church set themselves apart form this practice so there would be no confusion. Paul said, Where you are, in your situation, in your church, women are not allowed to be in authority. It was not a blanket statement for all the world over all of time. It was a specific directive meant for a specific place and time.

I ask you this question, do you believe God ever contradicts himself in scripture? I for one do not. So please in your spare time read the numerous accounts of women placed in the position of leadership as they are told in the Old Testament. Ex. Deborah- placed as the leader and judge of the nation of Israel. Huldah- prophetess during the time of Jeremiah that God used to guide his people. And yes there are many more. Don't forget the Bible is a book with two testaments. Read them both.

Joe Blackmon said...

Anonymous #2

First of all, I wonder why you're not willing to leave your name when you leave a snarky remark. Things that make you go "Hmmmm...."

You wrote:
"Paul said, Where you are, in your situation, in your church, women are not allowed to be in authority. It was not a blanket statement for all the world over all of time. It was a specific directive meant for a specific place and time." You know what the funny part is? This is the funny part. Are you sitting down because this is so funny you are going to just crack yourself up laughing. You ready? Here it come......

No, he did not say that. Those words cannot be found in ANY copy or translation of the New Testament.

Joe Blackmon said...

Anonymous #2

As a follow up, if you're going to be snarky and argumentative you should leave a name or your comments will not be published.

in Christ

Sue said...

I would just like to see Dr. Kostenberger publish the lexical evidence on authenteo. Here is the BDAG lexicon entry,

authenteo, (Philod., Rhet. II p. 133, 14 Sudh.; Jo. Lydus, Mag. 3, 42; Moeris p. 54; cp. Phryn. 120 Lob.; Hesychius; Thom. Mag. p. 18, 8; schol. in Aeschyl., Eum. 42; BGU 1208, 38 [27 BC]; s. Lampe s.v.) to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to w. gen. of pers. (Ptolem., Apotel. 3, 14, 10 Boll-B.; Cat. Cod. Astr. VIII/1 p. 177, 7; B-D-F §177) avndro,j, w. dida,skein, 1 Ti 2:12 (practically = ‘tell a man what to do‘[Jerusalem Bible]; Mich. Glykas [XII AD] 270, 10 ai` gunai/kej auvqentou/si t. avndrw/n. According to Diod. S. 1, 27, 2 there was a well-documented law in Egypt: j, cp. Soph., OC 337-41; GKnight III, NTS 30, ’84, 143-57; LWilshire, ibid. 34, ’88, 120-34).—DELG s.v. authenteo. M-M.

Please let me know when you see a reference to being a pastor or leading in church in this paragraph. It always has a negative connotation unless thesubject of the verb is God. It sometimes means to treat someone as a slave or take away their own authority or defraud someone out of their property. I would expect Dr. Kostenberger to interact with the facts. Alas that will not happen.

Joe Blackmon said...


Thank you for the visit to my blog. If you have the time I would appreciate your input and comments on other posts as well. I'd be curious what you have to say. Please stop by again.

in Christ

Anonymous said...

I am not entirely sure why it matters if authenteo is negative. The word as I understand it means to take power or authority by one's own authority. Is this not consistent with the view that women are excluded by God from holding a pastoral position? Is this not consistent with the fact that only under their own aegis can they take such a position...that they usurp this authority from the rightful holder- which is man. If man is God choice for church leadership, it would be a proper case of authenteo any time a woman was elevated to a position she is not authorized to hold. If I am misunderstanding the argument, I apologize. Still, it seems that there is no inconsistency.

Joe Blackmon said...


Woah, I had to look far and wide to find where this post was. I appreciate your comment and agree with you that whether it is positive or negative does not seem to make a difference. Of course, I should point out that I don't read Greek. I have to make use of other people's work to study that information.

Thanks for the visit to my blog.