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 8)

Opposing Arguments (continued)

26. In the New Testament, male headship does not indicate authority

 

The Claim: There are a number of feminists who tell us that men held exclusive positions of authority only in the Old Testament. By contrast, in the New Testament, the hierarchical position of men over women is no longer valid. Thus, the New Testament teaches that women may occupy positions of authority in the home and the church. This line of thinking stems from the notion that the Greek word "head", which is "kephale", means "source" and never "authority." The two chief verses that feminist reference are 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23 --- "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church." It is alleged by some critics that male chauvinist took the word "head" out of context to mean "authority" in an effort to marginalize women.

 

Rebuttal: The evidence to support the claim that the Greek word "kephale" is rendered "source" is weak; and is nothing more than a product of an insipid theological argumentation.

 

It is impossible that Paul meant this word to be rendered that Christ is the "source without authority" of the Church and a husband is the "source without authority" of his wife. An investigation of thousands of examples of "kephale" from numerous ancient Greek literatures presented no persuasive examples where "kephale" was defined as "source." On the other hand, the evidence to support the claim that "kephale" is rendered "authority over" is firm. Major Greek lexicons indicate that the context of "kephale" is rendered "authority" or "ruler", whereas none give the rendering "source".

 

For example, The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon defines "kephale" as:

 

"the head, both of men and often of animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church of things: the corner stone."

 

Another example is in The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon. Its rendition of the Greek word "kephale” is:

 

"the head, both of men and often of animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church of things: the corner stone."

 

Simply put, to be the head of a person or a group of people always means to have authority over those people. The feminist assertion that a person who is termed the "kephale" can be the "source without authority" is simply a concocted fictitious and deceptive idea that should be rejected.

 

Excellent reads on this issue are: 

 

1. "Does 'kephale' ('Head') Mean 'Source' or 'Authority over' in Greek Literature? A Survey of 2,336 Examples" (Trinity Journal 6 [1985], pages 38-59)

 

2. "The Meaning of 'kephale': A Response to Recent Studies" (Trinity Journal 11 [1990]), pages 3-72.)

27. The Church in Thyatira

 

The Claim: There is a very small segment of people who refer to Revelation 2:19-22 to support the notion that women are permitted to teach in the church. Their reasoning is that if Jesus restricts women from teaching in the church, then the church at Thyatira would have been a grand opportunity for the Lord to shut the door on the issue. But Jesus didn't rebuke the church for allowing a woman to teach, but rather she was rebuked for what she taught.

 

Rebuttal: Factually, Jesus' rebuke is twofold: The Lord rebukes the pastor at the Church in Thyatira for allowing a woman to teach as well as allowing her to seduce the church to commit fornication. The oldest manuscripts of the Bible say that, "she teaches and seduces".

 

For example, the KJV states in verse 20: "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols."

 

Jezebel was not a Christian woman, but rather a false prophet who was engaged in pagan practices.

 

In Scripture, fornication can include both physical and spiritual immorality. It was common in pagan cultures to allow women to exercise authority over men and adhere to various forms of sexual perversions that contradicted the Word of God. The pastor of the Church in Thyatira permitted Jezebel to lure pagan practices into the assembly of believers ... for which he was rebuked by Jesus.

 

To employ this account to promote women pastors is a very unusual and weak argument. To the contrary, many churches today are following in the footsteps of the Church in Thyatira by allowing a woman to teach, accepting homosexuality,  and performing same-sex marriages ... to say the least. Surely the spirit of Jezebel is still functioning within the church as well as the family structure in our present time. Willful deception and willful gullibility appear to be a joint arrangement between individuals who possess a personal agenda.

28. Most of the books of the New Testament were removed or altered

 

The Claim: There are some feminists who claim that most of the books of the New Testament were either removed or altered by Constantine, the Council at Nicaea, and the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD. Therefore, it is very doubtful that Paul really meant that women are restricted from teaching in the church.

 

Rebuttal: Unfortunately, there is misinformation circulating about Constantine, the Council at Nicaea, and the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD. Factually, neither Constantine, the Council at Nicaea, nor the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD removed or modified the New Testament in any way. There is absolutely no mention of such a thing actually happening. This is merely an unsubstantiated story and popular spurious innuendo which has been ... unfortunately ... bolstered by a number of people. Most notable of these is Dan Brown, author of the book entitled "The DaVinci Code" ... which is clearly anti-Christian.

 

The main point of discussion with the Council at Nicaea, and the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD was the theological recognition of the relationship between Jesus and God. The Arius camp believed that they were of different essences; whereas the Athanasius camp believed that they were of identical essences. The Council concluded,

 

"But the name of 'essence', which was set down by the Fathers in simplicity, and, being unknown by the people, caused offense, because the Scriptures do not contain it, it has seemed good to abolish, and for the future to make no mention of it at all; since the divine scriptures have made no mention of the essence of Father and Son. For neither ought 'subsistence' to be named concerning Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But we say that the Son is like the Father, as the divine Scriptures say and teach; and all the heresies, both those which have been already condemned, and whatever are of modern date, being contrary to this published statement, be they anathema."

(Source: Athanasius, De Synodis, 30; Socrates, HE 2.41.8-16).

 

As we can see, this was not about removing or modifying books from the New Testament. If Constantine, the Council at Nicaea, or the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD attempted to remove or change the New Testament, we can be assured that this tactic would not have been endorsed by the collective church. The New Testament had already been solidly established and recognized as authoritative by the church for well over one hundred years prior to the council meeting. Moreover, there are documents accessible today that come from a hundred years prior to the time of Constantine, the Council of Nicaea, and the Council of Constantinople. If there were removals or modifications of the New Testament Books, then we would see this change in the copies that pre-date the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople from those that come later. But the copies show no such removals or modifications.

 

That said, the idea that most of the books from the New Testament were removed or modified has no validity whatsoever. Thus, to use this argument as a means to justify women pastors has no basis in Scripture.

29. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I should teach

 

The  Claim: Many women allege that the Holy Spirit told them to teach, which is further confirmed and witnessed by the fruit that was produced. Therefore, their position does not require acceptance, approval, or legal recognition from man.

 

Rebuttal: This claim is merely a derivative of the "Judge not" / "Touch not the Lord's anointed" unbiblical defense. Many times people who are in error attribute their beliefs to the Holy Spirit for the purpose of avoiding correction and rebuke. When someone lays claim to a specific truth ... attributing their truth to the Holy Spirit ... we cannot blindly assume that their belief is accurate. There has to be a standard of absolute truth by which a person's claim can be verified.

 

Anyone can claim to hear from the Holy Spirit. The standard of measurement to test one's allegation that he/she is hearing from the Holy Spirit is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit does not speak apart from the veracity of Scripture. Those who attribute their erroneous beliefs to the Holy Spirit and refuse correction (2 Tim. 3:16) actually demonstrate contempt for the Holy Spirit. First Timothy 2:11-14 clearly restricts women from teaching in the church assembly. The fact that positive results are produced from a woman teaching God's Word does not equate to authorization. Anyone who teaches God's Word in context will produce good fruit.

30. The Nag Hammadi Library

 

The Claim: The Nag Hammadi library is often referenced by pro-women ordainers as examples of the "lost books of the Bible". That being the case, likened to their argument concerning Constantine, the Council at Nicaea, and the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD, pro-women ordainers suggest that it is not probable that Paul really meant that women are restricted from teaching in the church.

 

Rebuttal: Simply put, the Nag Hammadi scrolls are fraudulent. Philip did not compose the gospel of Philip; nor did Peter compose the acts of Peter; and the gospel of Thomas was not penned by Thomas. These scrolls were deceitfully authored in their names to serve the purpose of giving them authenticity during the early church period. Fortunately, the early church discerned these scrolls as forgeries which encompassed false teachings about God, Jesus, salvation, and many other essential Christian doctrines. There are numerous discrepancies between the Nag Hammadi library and the Bible. On account that many people ... including pro-women ordainers, are seeking a means to discredit the Bible ... which is a continual work of Satan ... the Nag Hammadi library was a stimulating discovery.

 

On a positive note, the Nag Hammadi library presents perspicacity into what early heretics and false teachers taught. Paul warned the church about such individuals. He said in Acts 20:29-31,

 

"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts: 20:29-31)

 

Take note that Paul says "for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears."

 

Second Peter 2:1-2 says,

 

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them -- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute."

(2 Peter 2:1-2)

 

Take note that this passages says, "Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute." This is still taking place today. Many people are attempting to appeal to extra-biblical resources for the purpose of discrediting the Word of God. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Paul warns the church in Corinth about false teachers. He says,

 

"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Cor. 11:13-15)

 

As we can see, the early church was infested with false prophets and false teachers. And nothing has changed today. Likened to the early church, there are numerous people today ... agents of Satan ... who have made it their prime directive to distort the truth ... having a predilection for propagating ambiguity about the Bible.

(Continue to page 9)

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