Posts

Male and Female: Whose Church Is It, Anyway?

Image
The discussion so far: 1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 6) Creation 2.0 7) Rockstar Women of the Early Church 8) Was Paul Sexist? 9) 99 Problems, the church in Corinth 10) Eve vs. Artemis .......
Full disclosure - I am Church of Christ born and bred. I went through the entire program. I was born to faithful, active parents. We were at church every time the doors were open. I went to private Church of Christ schools from 1st grade through college (Jackson Christian School, Columbia Academy, and Harding University). I have worked as a full time youth minster and worship leader in two different Churches of Christ over the past 8 1/2 years.

I can totally relate to Paul in Philippians 3 when he is listing off his resume. Oh you want to talk religious cred? How bout them apples? Paul says he was a “Hebrew of Hebrews.” Well, I guess that would make me… CoC of CoC. Paul’s point in saying all that was…

Male and Female: Eve vs. Artemis

Image
The discussion so far: 1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 6) Creation 2.0 7) Rockstar Women of the Early Church 8) Was Paul Sexist? 9) 99 Problems, the church in Corinth .......
I think after nine parts to this series a little recap is in order. I’ll try to make it quick. If you’re one of those “SKIP RECAP” people on Netflix, feel free to scroll down a bit. But if you haven't read parts 1, 2, and 3 yet - do that now before continuing. Those posts will be referenced quite a bit.
In the beginning God created male and female in his image as equals. They were partners in bearing his image to the rest of creation. The relationship between man and woman was to reflect the divine, loving community within God’s own being. In Genesis 2, it was not good for the man to be alone, so woman was created as the man’s “helper,” a word which was nearly exclusively used for God himself. In other words, man w…

Male and Female: 99 Problems, the Church in Corinth

Image
The discussion so far: 1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 6) Creation 2.0 7) Rockstar Women of the Early Church 8) Was Paul Sexist? .......
Have you ever really read through 1 Corinthians? Like, just sat down and read it? Talk about ALL the drama. Their dirty laundry is on full display. If you ever think your church has issues, just read this letter to the Corinthian church.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that when you read the New Testament letters, you are essentially listening in to one side of a phone conversation. We are literally reading someone else’s mail. In many cases, we don’t really know why Paul is writing or what exact issues he is addressing. His exchanges with the Corinthians leave no doubt. We know they had written him with questions of their own, and 1 Corinthians is his response to those questions and then some.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul answers questions about leadership, marria…

Male and Female: Was Paul Sexist?

Image
The discussion so far: 1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 6) Creation 2.0 7) Rockstar Women of the Early Church .......
I have heard my fair share of critics call out Paul for being sexist and misogynistic. They claim that Paul was anti-woman. They point to his instructions concerning the household codes (Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3) and his prohibition against female leadership in the church (1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2).

Aha! There it is. No egalitarian would ever urge women to submit to their husbands! And no one truly concerned with equality would then prohibit half the population from joining in the leadership of the church. Would they?

And I would say those people are exactly right.

But sexist men who view women as inherently inferior to men would say those exact things while they translate and interpret Paul. In other words, it’s not that Paul is sexist. History has shown us that…

Male and Female: Rockstar Women of the Early Church

Image
1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 6) Creation 2.0 .......
Just as you can’t help but notice all the women featured prominently in the gospels, so it is with Acts and the accounts of the early church.

Stop trying to force me to deal with Paul. We’re not there yet. We’ll get there when we get there! Haha

AS IT WAS, SO IT WILL BE
Right from the beginning, the women are fully included with the disciples. Check it out:
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:14) Who are these women? We know Mary the mother of Jesus. We can safely assume that also included at least Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, and perhaps Mary and Martha along with others.

Multiple women and men joined the remaining eleven apostles in constant prayer. Then Peter addresses the group and the group appoints a man to replace Judas. That’s right…

Male and Female: Creation 2.0

Image
The discussion so far: 1) In the Beginning
2) A Suitable Helper 3) Partners in Sin 4) Women in the Old Testament, part 1
5) Women in the Old Testament, part 2 .......
Now it’s time to get down to business. I still think I lost some of you by focusing so much on the Old Testament.  But I can’t - and I can’t emphasize this enough - emphasize this enough. We simply cannot disregard the Hebrew Scriptures. That’s the only Bible Jesus and the apostles had. That’s the only Bible the church had for hundreds of years of its existence. If we don’t examine the bulk of Scripture, we miss out on the amazing Story that unfolds - Creation, Fall, New Creation.

Jesus’ whole mission was to inaugurate the New Creation. It’s right there at his baptism - the voice of God, the light, the Spirit hovering over the waters. It’s there in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples - Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It’s there in all the miracles and signs Jesus performed. It’s there mos…

Male and Female: Women in the Old Testament, part 2

Image
The discussion so far: 1) Male and Female: In the Beginning
2) Male and Female: A Suitable Helper 3) Male and Female: Partners in Sin 4) Male and Female: Women in the Old Testament, part 1 .......
So let’s take a quick look at what specific women actually did in the Old Testament.

Before we begin, I want to address a couple potential objections. First, the Old Testament was written for our learning (Romans 15:4). I believe it is entirely relevant to consider the bulk of Scriptures in our discussion of gender roles within the Kingdom of God. After all, whenever you read about “the Scriptures” in the New Testament, it only ever meant the Hebrew Bible, i.e. the Old Testament. Second, nowhere in the text does it say or even imply that these women were the exceptions. They may have been exceptional women, but the Bible does not attempt to portray these women as somehow working outside the norm. They aren’t so much exceptions to the rule as they are exceptions that prove the rule - the rule of…