Monthly Archives: May 2009

Women in leadership Part !

podcast
egal perspective

This Sunday Night at Revolution…

We will be looking at the complementarian position of gender roles and ministry.  The text will be 1 Timothy 2:8-15. 

Ryan Rolfe and the World’s Most Dangerous Praise Band will lead us all in worshipping our God.

As always, coffee & community begins at 6:30 and Justin Clark will bring things to order around 7pm.  During coffee & community, I’ll be playing the new Hillsong United release.

Revolution is located at 315 Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth, Ohio.  Parking on the street or in the municpal lot directly behind the building. 

Anyone is welcome to come as they are.

I hope to see you there.

Posted by Matt, Revolution Leadership Team

Revolution Church: Worship-Grow-Serve.

Women in Ministry: The Egalitarian Perspective

Sometime in the mid-first century A.D., the Apostle Paul penned a letter to his protegee Timothy who was planting churches in the city of Ephesus. He begins his letter as follows:

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

So,  we have to keep in mind the context of this letter.  Timothy has been by appointed by the Apostle Paul to fix a problem in the churches at Ephesus (1:1-11).  Specifically, there are false teachers in the church. 

Who were they?

The most influential institution at Ephesus was the Cult of Artemis, which, among other things, taught that women were created before men and were, therefore, inherently superior to them. 

Moreover, during the 1st century there was also a feminist movement known as “The New Roman Women”, who, among other things, taught radical Independence from men and practiced abortion. 

Were ancient feminists influenced by the Cult of Artemis the false teachers at Ephesus?

Paul goes on to reminds Timothy that even he was once a false teacher who was shown grace (1:12-17), implying that he should be charitable to these false teachers.

Paul then gives Timothy a “You can do it, bro” speech (1:18-20) and then the Apostle advises Timothy  on how to fix the problem:

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

So, first, Paul has the congregation pray for everyone from Caesar on down (2:1-4).  Prayer is always a good place to start when there are problems and Paul is also very concerned with the public perception of the church–prayer for leaders would’ve helped to disquiet any talk of subversion.  

Rome looked down on radical feminism, so if the problem at Ephesus was a group of the New Roman Woman, then Paul had to make sure that the churches were not regarded with great suspicion by the authorities.

Paul then turns, as he always does, to the Gospel (2:5-7) as well as his authority as a commissioned apostle of King Jesus.

Paul then advises that men/husbands are to worship and be peaceful (2:8) and that the women/wives are to dress modestly and focus on good works (2:9-10). It is important to remember that the Greek word for “man” was synonymous with husband and the word for “woman” was synonymous with “wife.”  More on this presently.

The next few verses have not been translated well in most English Bibles.  Paul states that women/ wives should learn with a gentle spirit and not try to dominate their men or husbands (2:11-12) as was possibly taught by the local cult of Artemis.  Instead, they should learn about Jesus quietly and not disrupt or argue. 

If Paul is referring only to the husband/wife situation then this would make some sense.  Rome, going back to Caesar Augustus, strongly pushed “family values,” in which the woman was to be wholly submissive to the husband.  In some parts of the empire, men had life and death power over the entire household.  Thus, Paul, given his concern for public perception, as well as false teaching, may have been instructing wives not to “dominate” (a better translation then the ESV’s “exercise authority”) their own husbands. 

Furthermore, Paul did not want a group to teach that had been influenced by a local cult.  So, he tells them to learn about Jesus with a gentle spirit (a better translation then “remain quiet”).

Finally, Paul took a few shots at the teaching of the local cult.  He reminded Timothy that the woman, Eve, sinned first, which means that a woman is not inherently superior to a man (OR Paul may be reminding them that Satan destroyed peace with God and with each other in this world by inducing the wife who then induced the husband) (2:13-14).

Paul then argues that the women/wives will be saved/healed/set free by being loyal to Jesus and being good mothers, who raise their children to be godly (2:15) instead of being radically independent “New Roman Women” who practice abortion. 

Now, does this reading of 1 Timothy cohere with the rest of Scripture?

Remember that in the Bible you find women prophetesses (Exod. 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chron. 34:22; Isa. 8:3; Luke 8:36; Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; 1 Cor. 11:4-5), a judge/ruler (Judges 4:4), a deacon (Rom. 16:1) and possibly even an apostle (Rom. 16:7).  Would Paul have these women be silent?

Again, remember that Paul was very concerned with the public perception of the church because of the impact on evangelism (e.g., 1 Timothy 3:7 cf. Rom. 13:1-7).  What would he say today when one of the top questions the unchurched and dechurched have of a community is, “Do you value women as much as men?”

Something to pray about!

Next week, the complimentarian position.

Posted by Matt, Revolution Leadership Team.

Revolution Church: Worship-Grow-Serve.

Women and the Ministry

Over the next few weeks at Revolution we will be discussing the question of women and ministry. We will focus our attention on 1 Timothy 2:8-15.

This coming Sunday, I will preach a sermon on this text from an egalitarian position (i.e., that women may serve in any and all ministry positions) and then the next week I will preach on the same text from a complimentarian position (i.e., that women may serve in any ministry position save elder/teaching pastor).

The next Sunday (June 7), we will openly discuss the pros and cons of each position and will elicit your feedback.

 The Leadership Team will then vote on and present its decision on June 14. This is obviously a contentious issue with strong feelings on each side.

I hope that all those who are or want to be part of the mission of Revolution will attend each and every session so that they may intelligently submit their feedback to the Leadership Team. We also covet your prayers during this exciting but stressful time.

Grace and peace.

Posted by Matt, Revolution Leadership Team

Revolution: Worship-Grow-Serve

This Weekend at Revolution

We will be working on our new building and please join us because we need the help!!!

Saturday, beginning at 9:00 a.m., anyone who is good with tools will congregate at Revolution HQ (315 Chillicothe Street) to work on the 2nd floor, which will eventually house our toddlers and extra bathrooms. 

Then on Sunday, we will gather at 5:00 p.m. for lighter work including some painting followed by free food and Ryan Rolfe’s corn hole challenge to anyone who dares take him on.

Hope to see you there.

Posted by Matt, Revolution Leadership Team.

Revolution: Worship-Grow-Serve.

Local Church Leaders and Other Oxymorons: Part 2

So, who is qualified to serve in the church offices of elder or deacon?

1 Tim. 3:1-13 reads:

3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

 
Okay, so there are sixteen (possibly seventeen depending on the gender question) qualifications for elders/pastors found in 1 Tim. 3:1-7.  We can break them down like this:
 
Relation to God
1. A man? (we will deal with that one later).
2. Above reproach: without major character defects that have given him (or her) a bad reputation in the community.
3. Able to teach: effective communicator (either public or private) that knows the message of Jesus.
4. Not a new convert: mature Christian.
 
Relation to Family
5. Husband of one wife (or lit. “one woman man”): sexually pure.
6. Submissive children: successful father if he has children.
7. Manages family well: provides for, leads, organizes, loves.
 
Relation to Self
8. Sober-minded: mentally and emotionally stable.
9. Self-controlled: disciplined life of sound decision-making.
10. Not a drunkard: without addictions.
11. Not a lover of money: financially content and upright.
 
Relation to Others
12. Respectable: worth following and imitating.
13. Hospitable: welcomes strangers, especially non-Christians, for evangelism.
14. Not violent: even tempered.
15. Gentle: kind, gracious, loving.
16. Not quarrelsome: peaceable, not divisive or contentious.
17. Well thought of by outsiders: respected by non-Christians.
 
 
Then there are 12 Qualifications for deacons/servants found in 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
 
General Qualifications
1. Dignified: worthy of respect, without any major character defects.
2. Not double-tongued: sincere, heartfelt, earnest, honest and authentic.
3. Not addicted to much wine: without addictions, self-controlled.
4. Not greedy for dishonest gain: not a lover of money, financially content and upright.
5. Hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience: sound biblical theology held with deep convictions.
6. Tested: proven worthy over time.
 
Additional Requirements for Female Deacons
7. Dignified: honored by both men and women as exemplary Christians, without any character defect.
8. Not slanderers: not malicious talkers, not prone to sins of the tongue such as gossip, slander, lying, etc.
9. Sober-minded: temperate, not prone to emotionalism.
10. Faithful in all things: trustworthy in everything, faithful in all life roles (e.g., wife, mother daughter, sister).
 
Additional Requirements for Male Deacons
11. Husband of one wife: sexually pure.
12. Manages his children and household well: godly husband and father who leads, manages, and provides for his family.

There you have it.  Now, I caution not to use this as a checklist but more of a guide.  After all, if you apply these strictly then the Apostle Paul himself wouldn’t qualify to lead a local church but more of that later.

Until then, grace and peace.

Posted by Matt, Revolution Leadership Team.

Revolution: Worship-Grow-Serve.

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