WOMEN SERVING AS PASTORS

STEPPING OUT OF DIVINE ORDER

By: Victor T. Stephens

"People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it's served up."

~ George R.R. Martin

(Page 4)

Opposing Arguments (continued)

 

6. The definition of the word "Authority"

 

The Claim: Proponents of women's ordination contend that the word "authority" (Greek word "authentein") in 1 Timothy 2:12 was altered. Instead of being rendered as "to exercise authority", its true definition means to "not domineer" or "not misuse authority." In the context of its diction, the Greek word "authentein" is used only once in the New Testament by Paul. Thus, referencing back to the pagan goddess Artemis (Diana) in Ephesus, what Paul is really saying is that women should "not dominate" or "misuse authority" over men. If Paul was speaking in context of the normal word for "authority", why didn't he use the Greek word "exousia" (to rule over, to have authority over) instead of "authentein" (to domineer, misuse authority)? Therefore, it is permissible for women to teach and exercise authority over men pending that their authority does not become domineering or abusive.

 

Rebuttal: The Greek word "authentein" has various renditions. Its definition is dependent upon its linguistic source and the context of its usage. In ancient extra biblical literature, "authentein" could mean in a negative connotation "to domineer, misuse authority." However, "authentein" in the New Testament (1 Tim. 2:12), being a hapex legomenon (meaning occurring once) is defined in a positive manner as "to exercise authority over." One major aspect of this deduction is based on the fact that the word "or" ("oude"), which juxtaposes "to teach" and "to have authority", coordinates terms that are either both observed positively or negatively. The term "to teach" is always interpreted positively in the New Testament. The only exclusion is in Titus 1:11 where the context is explicitly referencing false doctrine.

 

Thus, viewed within its correct grammatical context, "authentein" should be rendered in a positive aspect to mean "to exercise authority." A lexical study of the Greek word "authentein" in this verse has revealed it as being synonymous with the word "exousia".

 

The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae project established in 1972 by the University of California, Irvine, and a data bank of ancient Greek/Roman manuscripts at Duke University states that the primary definition of "authentein" in Greek vernacular during the time of Paul was rendered as "to exercise authority over."

 

Lastly, Paul's expression "to be in silence" is distinctively contrary to teaching and exercising authority over men in a church assembly. Therefore, if we accept the proponents of women's ordination viewpoint, then 1 Timothy 2:12 makes no biblical sense.

7. On account that Paul was prejudiced against women, his statements to Timothy in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 are incorrect. It was just his personal perspective, not a stipulation from God.

 

The Claim: Radical liberal groups believe that Paul penned 1 Timothy 2:11-14 in a manner that reflected his own personal prejudices against women rather than what was given to him by Divine inspiration. An article regarding the epistles of Paul was presented in the April 5, 1999 issue of the U.S. News & World Report. The article titled, "Reassessing an Apostle: The Quest for the Historical St. Paul Yields Some Surprising New Theories", stated that Paul's writings were words "not quite in lock-step with his master."

 

Rebuttal: Paul prejudiced against women? Paul theologically inconsistent? I believe such caricatured charges by proponents of women's ordinations are rooted more in satanic influence than honest ignorance. The Bible states that the Thessalonians, the Philippians, and the Corinthians received Paul's teachings not according to personal prejudices, but as inspired truth (1 Thess. 2:13; Phil. 4:9; 1 Cor. 14:36-37).

 

If Paul was prejudiced, why would he have shared his efforts for the gospel with numerous women? If Paul was prejudiced against women, why would he state: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church"

(Eph. 5:25-29)?

 

Here, Paul expressly states that it is a husband's responsibility to love his wife as Christ loves the church --- a love which embraces unreserved and sacrificial love, and if necessary, at the price of his own life.

 

In verses 28 and 29, Paul continues by saying that a husband is to love his wife with the same devotion that he naturally demonstrates for himself. Such statements by Paul clearly indicate that his teachings were void of personal prejudices against women. Paul's character and teachings are completely harmonious with the character and teachings of Christ. Likened to Jesus, he never appointed women to leadership positions within the church. Bear in mind, all twelve apostles appointed by Christ were men.

8. 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-37

 

The Claim: Supporters of women pastors point out that 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 are the only places in the Bible that says women should remain silent. Therefore, it is uncertain that we should accept that women are restricted from being ordained as ministers.

 

Rebuttal: How many times does God have to give a commandment in order for His Word to be considered valid? One? Ten? One-Hundred? If God stated that murder is sin only once, does that mean we should doubt the authenticity of His Word? Of course not! Yet supporters of women pastors elect to divorce common sense by using unintelligent exegesis and weak excuses to pursue a personal glorification. 

 

First Timothy 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 clearly demonstrate to be related to women being restricted from taking authority in the church. Leadership of men in the church is consistent throughout Scripture. All the priests in the Old Testament were men. In the New Testament all the apostles were men. All pastors/elders were men.

 

While ordainers of women want to argue about 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-37, they cannot provide one verse or passage of Scripture which shows that God, Jesus, or Paul appointed a women to lead a church assembly. Their best efforts are merely pointing to text in the Bible that they can twist, pervert, and make assumptions that are based upon their preconceived notions or a personal agenda.

9. Anna was a preacher

 

The Claim: Based upon Luke 2:36-38, supporters of women pastors claim that Anna was a preacher. The fact that this passage says Anna "never left the temple" and "spoke about the child to all" has been interpreted to mean that she must have been a preacher.

 

Rebuttal: Anna was giving a testimony about Christ to others; she was not engaging in authoritative teaching. Let's examine the evidence:

 

Verse 36 says that Anna was a prophet; not an elder, pastor, or preacher. Verse 37 says that during her time at the temple, she "worshiped night and day, fasting and praying." Nowhere in this passage or any passage in the Bible does it suggest that Anna was engaging in authoritative expository teaching.

 

The context of the word "spoke" in verse 38 is the Greek word "laleo". “Laleo" is used in the New Testament to reference speaking that occurs during general conversation, rather than to public authoritative  teaching in a formal church setting. According to The New Testament Greek Lexicon the word "laleo" is rendered: “to utter a voice or emit a sound, to speak, to use the tongue or the faculty of speech, to utter articulate sounds, to talk, to utter, tell,  to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts, to speak.”

 

Let's look at a few other examples of its usage:

 

"So he took him, and brought [him] to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto [him], and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say ("laleo") unto thee."  (Acts 23:18)

 

"And withal they learn [to be] idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking ("laleo") things which they ought not." (1 Tim. 5:13)

 

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak ("laleo"), slow to wrath." 1 Peter 3:10: "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak ("laleo") no guile." (James 1:19)

 

"And he that talked ("laleo") with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof." (Rev. 21:15)

 

There are no passages in the Bible where the Greek word "laleo" is used in the context of authoritative  teaching. The Greek word for "teach" is "didasko". According to The New Testament Greek Lexicon, it is defined: "to teach, to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses, to be a teacher, to discharge the office of a teacher, conduct one's self as a teacher, to teach one, to impart instruction, instill doctrine into one, the thing taught or enjoined, to explain or expound a thing, to teach one something."

 

The Greek language also encompasses several other words for bestowing knowledge. They are as follows: "paideia", "kathodigo", "odigo", "paragkello", and "ektithemi". "Paideia" means “to instruct children”, "Kathodigo", "odigo", and "paragkello" all mean “to instruct”, which imparts knowledge. "Ektithemi" means “to set forth or set out, which imparts knowledge”.

 

When Paul says in 1 Tim. 2:12, "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.", the Greek word for "to teach" is "didasko". A few examples of other passages where the Greek word "didasko" (to teach) are:

 

"Command and teach ("didasko") these things." (1 Tim. 4:11)

 

"These are the things you are to teach ("didasko") and insist on." (1 Tim. 6:2)

 

"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach (“didasko") others." (2 Tim. 2:2)

10. Priscilla was a pastor

 

The Claim: Based upon Acts 18:1-5, 26 and 1 Corinthians 16:19, pro-women ordainers allege that Paul regards Priscilla and Aquila as a ministering (joint pastors) husband and wife team in their home church. Since Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately confirms that they were both pastors. In addition, since Priscilla's name is always mentioned first, then she was the most spiritually gifted pastor in their house church.

 

Rebuttal: We should bear in mind that this was a private session that is problematically comparable to authoritative teaching in a congregation of believers. Simply because Priscilla and Aquila corrected the teachings of Apollos in their home does not make them pastors. If we read Acts 17:11, it says the Bereans searched the scriptures daily to test the teachings of Paul. So, let's ask the following question: If by chance Paul committed an error and was corrected by a Berean husband and wife in the privacy of their home, does that automatically qualify them to the pastoral position? Of course not! Correcting those who commit error is a biblical mandate for every believer.

 

In 1 Corinthians 16:19 ... while it states that an assembly of believers (church) met at the home of Priscilla and Aquila, nowhere in Scripture does it state that Priscilla lead the church in authoritative, expository teaching. Is it too difficult for some to accept the fact that Aquila or another male figure lead the assembly, or is it easier to ignore Paul's command in 1 Timothy 2 and assume that Priscilla lead the home church?

 

In reference to name order: There is no adequate explanation from Scripture why Priscilla is listed first in the Priscilla-Aquila-Apollos account. If we read Acts 18:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 16:19, Aquila's name is given before Priscilla's. It should be clear to any unbiased, fair-minded person that the order of their names has absolutely no association with church structure. To assert that Priscilla was a pastor ... one who was more prominent than her husband by reason of name order is exegetically reckless. For pro-women ordainers to read so much into the text and resort to breathtaking baseless assumptions demonstrates a desperate attempt to fulfill an agenda whether the evidence actually shoulders it or not.

(Continue to page 5)

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