Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
The Philosophy of Women's Ministry in the Local Church
by Doug V. Heck
Topical Position Paper by Doug V. Heck
Cultural changes concerning the contemporary role of women has become one of the most controversial issues in western Christianity. The feminist movement in western society has been successful in challenging the patriarchal model which has been the cultural norm in America. It has challenged the patriarchal philosophy of the family and the patriarchal philosophy of the ministry of the local church. The woman's role in the family is now in the process of redefinition.(1) And the woman's role in the local church is now in the process of turmoil.
To describe the woman's role in the local church as in the process of turmoil is not a secundum quid statement or overgeneralization. A Grace Theological Journal article in 1987 summarizes the publication boom of contemporary literature on the woman's role in the church issue.
The role of women in the church is rapidly becoming one of the most controversial issues in western Christianity. Numerous books and articles have appeared on the subject in the last five years, and there is scarcely a major Christian publisher that has not published at least one work on the issue. A recent volume lists approximately 430 titles.(2)
In the last few years leadership within the evangelical world has begun to galvanize toward two major organizations: the Council for Biblical Equality, which promotes the evangelical equalitarian view(3) and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood promoting the evangelical hierarchial view.(4) The decade of the 80's saw an increasing number of evangelical denominations debate the issue and draft official statements of policy on the subject of the woman's role in local church ministry. And the decade of the 90's is expected to continue to fragment opinion on a number of volatile gender role questions: Has the evangelical church erroneously held to a hierachial view of male leadership? Should women be permitted to teach and preach without qualification of audience? Does the New Testament support the doctrine of mutual submission or hierarchial authority structure? Are women to be ordained as pastors, elders and deacons? Is the senior pastor of a local church required to be male in gender? What should the role of women's ministry be in the local church?
This thesis seeks to be an introduction to a philosophy of women's ministry in the local church. Specifically, the question of limitation of role will be considered.(5) Three areas will be outlined: the major approaches to the role of women's ministry; the Biblical teaching on the role of women's ministry; and the applicational principles on the role of women's ministry.
THE MAJOR APPROACHES TO THE ROLE OF WOMEN'S MINISTRY
Women historically have contributed significantly to both cultural history and church history. In 1922 Arthur Schlesinger called on historians to stop writing history from a blatant sexism perspective and recognize the contributions of women. Church historians generally have followed secular sexism in historical analysis, omitting the significant contribution women have made to the church. A recent Zondervan publication on the history of the contribution of women to the ministry of the church, laments the vast amount of material on the subject, if historians would be objective:
The vast subject encompassing women in the history of Christianity would be impossible to cover fully in a single volume. The scope of the subject is virtually limitless...In numbers, women have dominated the church, and the source material relating to their ministry and status is simply overwhelming. Therefore, any effort to summarize the story must be an exercise in careful selectivity.(6)
However, the essential question concerns the contemporary role of women's ministry in the church. Historical evaluation is need to understand the general trends surrounding the issue of hierarchial vs egalitarian roles, and no doubt a complete historical analysis of the issue would be difficult if not impossible. Yet, a general summarizing of the contemporary views of the issue is possible. Three views on the role of women in the ministry of the local church, act as general philosophical camps.
The Non-evangelical Egalitarian View:
The non-evangelical egalitarian view generally holds that the Bible is sexist and androcentric, rooted in patriarchal culture.(7) There are variations of the non-egalitarian view. Some claim that the Bible is of no value at all for constructing a contemporary philosophy of the role of women in ministry, while others see the seeds of cultural liberty within Christianity as evolving into a progressive liberation of women from early cultural patriarchal domination. Within the non-evangelical egalitarian view, some hold to a complete rejection of the Bible and others hold to a historical-critical method of interpretation, which screens texts as acceptable or non-acceptable in contributing to a philosophy of women's ministry in the contemporary world. Those holding this view, see contemporary feminism as the hermeneutical grid, instead of holding the Bible as the final authority for contemporary practice.
In America, the contemporary Women's Liberation Movement began in 1963 with the publication of Betty Friedan's, The Feminist Mystique.(8) Friedan was fired as a newspaper reporter for becoming pregnant with her second child, resulting in her quest to discover the plight of post-World War II women. She found their despondency was the result of a deep desire for being more than a wife and homemaker. The cultural expectation or "problem with no name," that subjugated women to the doldrums of domestic demands, she called the "feminist mystique." Her work became the rally point of the feminist movement.
It is difficult to overestimate the influence of this book on the direction of society in America over the last two decades. What Darwin's, The Origin of the Species is to evolutionary biology, and Wellhausen's Prolegomena to the History of Israel is to recent biblical criticism, The Feminist Mystique is to women's liberation. This book was the spark that ignited the blaze of a modern movement of staggering proportions.(9)
The growing support against the domestic role of women, led to the passage of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution known as the Equal Rights Amendment on March 2, 1972 by Senate vote. This in turn was ratified by thirty-five states before it fell short of the necessary thirty-eight states, in July of 1982. The question of feminist equality saturated American culture during these two decades of debate, with most non-evangelical and liberal denominations joining the social trend.(10) The decade of the 80's, and no doubt the 90's, will focus on the question of women's role of ministry, within the evangelical world. And so far, this debate has let to two major evangelical philosophical views of the issue. The first is the evangelical egalitarian view.
The Evangelical Egalitarian View:
The evangelical egalitarian view, also known as the Biblical equalitarian position, holds to an authoritative Bible but challenges the historical heirarchial tradition of interpretation. This view sees the Bible as teaching complete equality between male and female, with an emphasis on mutual submission. This view basically gives strong emphasis to a cultural hermeneutic, to eliminate the hierarchial tone of the New Testament passages of role difference.
The broad popularization of the evangelical egalitarian view is comparatively recent, yet significant earlier expressions should be mentioned. A.J. Gordon published, The Ministry of Women in 1894 which took to task many of the hierarchial interpretations limiting the role of women's ministry in the church.(11) The evangelical egalitarian position gained support when P.B. Fitzwater, professor of systematic theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, published his book, Women: Her Mission, Position, and Ministry in 1949.(12) In 1966 the Dean of Harvard Divinity School, Krister Stendahl, became the first New Testament scholar of international reputation to interact with Friedan's thesis, in The Bible and the Role of Women. Although Stendahl does not represent the evangelical egalitarian position, he became the bridge for evangelicals to begin dialogue. Soon to come, was Rosemary Radford Ruether's Liberation Theology in 1972, and New Woman, New Earth in 1975, which appealed to liberation hermeneutic. At the same time, Gladys Hunt published the first evangelical egalitarian work, Ms Means Myself. Then came the pivotal work of Paul K. Jewett, Man as Male and Female (1975) who set the Apostle Paul against himself - the rabbinic training conflicting with the liberation of the Gospel.(13) This was followed by Richard and Joyce Boldrey's Chauvinist or Feminist: Paul's View of Women, which expanded their earlier article, Women in Paul's Life.(14) With the Boldrey's, the theory of mutual submission and total egalitarianism within marriage and ministry, was given statement. Patricia Gundry's work, Woman, Be Free! gave critical development to the hierarchial tradition of interpretation. In 1978 Catherine and Richard Kroeger published two works, with one following in 1979, which sought to establish the cultural basis for the seeming Pauline hierarchial view.(15) Other writers appeared, but the above mentioned basically provided the broad philosophical foundations upon which the evangelical egalitarian position would stand. There was now an option to the traditional evangelical hierarchial view of the woman's ministry in the church.
The Evangelical Hierarchial View:
The evangelical hierarchial position has been the traditionally accepted understanding within historic Judaism and Christianity. Basically, this view suggests that God has established a functional hierarchy in the home and church. The male is to lead and the female is to follow, with the implications in the ministry of the local church, to limit women to non-leadership positions. The evangelical hierarchial view can be broadly divided into two positions: a role restricted position, which views the offices of pastor, elder, staff or church board as outside of a woman's functional role and a limited restricted position, which views most of these offices as within a woman's functional role, but only when the authority is exercised over women.
Several landmark publications of the hierarchial view have countered the spread of egalitarian philosophy. John R. Rice represents the fundamentalist approach in his work in 1941 but unfortunately resorts to rhetorical warnings, instead of a development of the real issues.(16) As mentioned, Charles C. Ryrie's The Place of Women in the Church (1958) produced a pre-Friedan apologetic to the problems she would raise in the early 1960's. Ryrie summarizes his conclusions of the ideal of women:
Those who share this author's view of inspiration will answer it by saying that in the inspired writings we have the mind of God concerning the full development of women. And this will mean subordination and honor in the home, silence and helpfulness in the church, according to the teaching and pattern of the New Testament.(17)
Elizabeth Elliot in 1976 gave popular warning to the growing egalitarian position, in her book, Let Me Be a Woman.(18) George W. Knight III in 1977 gave a reformed expression of the hierarchial view.(19) With Susan T. Foh of Westminster Seminary, came a challenge to the cultural hermeneutics of the egalitarian position.(20) Another West-minster Seminary graduate, James B. Hurley, provided what many believe to be the best defense of the hierarchial position - Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective.(21) H. Wayne House in 1990 provided another able defense of the hierarchial view, in The Role of Women in Ministry Today.(22) These, along with the recently published Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A response to Evangelical Feminism by editors John Piper and Wayne A. Grudem, form the contemporary response to non-evangelical and evangelical egalitarianism.
How are these positions arrived at? What Biblical passages are being debated? And how are these passages viewed among evangelical egalitarians and evangelical hierarchists? What is the biblical teaching on the role of women's ministry?
THE BIBLICAL TEACHING ON THE ROLE OF WOMEN'S MINISTRY
Although the larger issue of role relationships and gender equality, demand an exegetical analysis of a good number of passages, there are only seven major passages providing the theological battleground of debate on women's ministry in the local church: Romans 16:1,7; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 14:34-35; Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 3:11.(23) These in turn may be divided into five major categories of consideration: the question of women in ecclesiastical office (Romans 16:1,7; 1 Timothy 3:11); the question of women praying and prophesying with heads covered (1 Corinthians 11:2-16); the issue of women remaining silent in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:12); the issue of women as equal in Christ (Galatians 3:28); and the issue of women having authority over and teaching men (1 Timothy 2:11-15).
Women in Ecclesiastical Office:
The question of women holding ecclesiastical offices of authority has been the primary test case for egalitarianism. Traditionally, the evangelical church has denied women the office of apostle, pastor, elder and deacon. Cultural feminism, since The Feminist Mystique, has launched a passionate crusade to place women into leadership positions within all social structures. And the evangelical church, generally the bastion of the hierarchial tradition, has felt the special onslaught of this feminist campaign.
The egalitarian view points to three primary texts supporting the right for women to hold ecclesiastical office: Romans 16:1,7 and 1 Timothy 3:11. At the same time, the egalitarians must answer the hierarchial traditional interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11,12.
Romans 16:1 reads, "I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchreae." (KJV) Egalitarians generally hold that "servant" (Greek, diakonon) should be translated "deaconess." Paul elsewhere uses diakonos to refer to deacons. (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13) This could suggest an office of authority, reflecting gender equality in role responsibilities. This is the egalitarian interpretation of diakonos in Romans 16a;1. However, the meaning could refer to "servant" or one who has rendered ministry, without regard to ecclesiastical office. This has generally been the hierarchial position.
Egalitarians often point to 16:2, where the KJV reads, "she [i.e.,Phoebe] has been a succourer (Greek, prostasis) of many, and of myself also." The Greek, prostasis is claimed to refer to a "leader" or "chief," which would imply that Phoebe was a leader, elder or deacon in her church.(24) Yet, this lexical definition would be difficult at best, as Paul would then be viewed as under her rule. It is better to understand prostatis as "helper."(25)
The egalitarians claim that if a male name had been placed in 16:1, instead of the female Phoebe, then there would be little debate as to diakonos being the office of deacon.(26) However, even though Phoebe could be recognized as a deaconess, this does not define her role as authoritative, let alone exercising authority over men. In view of the lack of lexical and contextual definition, the case must remain undecided. Phoebe could have been a servant or a deaconess.(27)
Romans 16:7 reads, "Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who were in Christ before me." According to the egalitarian position, the feminine proper name Junia is designated an apostle. This suggests an office of authority reflecting gender equality in role responsibilities. However, Paul's phrase epeistemoi en tois apostolois, may simply mean "well known by the apostles." This has normally been the hierarchial interpretation, implying only a relational understanding among the apostles.
Once again, the issue of Romans 16:7 cannot easily be decided. The name Junias could refer to either a female or male, although the normal usage would be female. If female, then this could refer to a husband-wife team.
The phrase epistemoi en tois apostois, is best understood as "distinguished as apostles." Sandy and Headlam summarize the reasons:
In favour of the latter interpretation, which is probably correct, are the following arguments. (i) The passage was apparently so taken by all patristic commentators. (ii) It is in accordance with the meaning of the words. , lit. 'stamped,' 'marked,' would be used of those who were selected form the Apostolic body as 'distinguished,' not of those known to the Apostolic body, or looked upon by the Apostles as illustrious; it may be translated 'those of mark among the Apostles.' (iii) It is in accordance with the wider use of the term . Bp. Lightfoot pointed out (Galatians, p. 93) that this word was clearly used both in a narrow sense of 'the twelve' and also in a wider sense which would include many others. His views have been corroborated and strengthened by the publication of the
Hence, a woman apostle is mentioned in the New Testament, at least in the general sense. And even in the general sense, there is still an element of definite authority implicit in the title. Yet, this does not demand authoritative rule over men. Nothing in the Romans 16 passage suggests the realm of apostolic authority, hence this passage adds little to the question of women in ecclesiastical office.
1 Timothy 3:11 reads, "Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." The Greek word translated "wives" is gynaikes is ambiguous. This could refer to the wives of deacons, the wives of elders, or women deacons. The egalitarian position normally opts for the deaconess interpretation, while hierarchists suggest they are wives of deacons.
The view that these are wives of deacons, suggests that the nature of the office is such that the deacon cannot perform his responsibilities alone, but needs a wife to lend a helping hand. Five arguments have been suggested: 1.) the mention of these comes in the midst of, not after, the qualifications of deacons. This would suggest that the deacon's wife is an integral part of the deacon's qualifications; 2.) the office of the deacon involved much more of the lay element and by its nature would involve more assistance form a wife; 3.) an elder's wife cannot participate in her husband's official service the way deacons' wives can; 4.) the care of the sick and destitute could better be served by a deacon's wife; and 5.) the use of gunaikas rather than hai diakonoi favors a reference to deacon's wives. However, a definite weakness of this view is noticed in the fact that no article or possessive pronoun is found to connect these women with the deacons just described.
The view that gunaikas refers to the office of deaconess is the proper interpretation because of three major arguments: 1.) Hosautos (cf. 3:11) has just been used in 3:9 to introduce a new office; 2.) the same grammatical construction used for transitions to new groups (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9; Titus 2:3,6) is used in 3:11;3.) there is a definite parallelism of qualifications between vs. 8 and vs. 11. Because of these syntactical constructions, Paul was giving qualifications for the selection of deaconess's. Yet, this does not demand an office of authority nor the exercise of authority over men in the local church.
At best, the three passages dealing with women in ecclesiastical office would allow for women to function within a particular office, without a defined rule of authority. This limitation of the office rule is developed in 1 Timothy 2:11-15.(29)
Women Praying and Prophesying in the Local Church:
1 Corinthians 11:2-16 has been a battleground for both the role of women in the family and the ministry role of women in the local church. In considering the ministry of women in the local church, the debate centers around verse 5 - "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
Egalitarian interpretation is quick to point out that according to verse 5, women may pray and prophesy in the worship service of the local church. This involvement implies roles of authority.
Hierarchial interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is varied. MacArthur understands the two women's ministries of prayer and prophecy, to be outside of the formal worship service of the local church.(30) Yet, contextually this cannot be the case, as the worship service of the local church is the issue under consideration. House concludes that the ministry of prayer and prophesy are nonauthoritative in nature:
Instead the apostle sought to provide the opportunity for women to participate in the life of the church through prayer and prophecy. These were not expressions of authority in the same sense as the proclamation of "revelation"; the prophesying seems to have consisted of worship rather that teaching in the first-century church.(31)
As attractive as the House/ Grudem nonauthoritative prophesy position is, to the hierarchial view, it seems to beg the question. Grudem has not proved the nonauthoritative role of NT prophecy, although he perhaps is correct in distinguishing the levels of authority between the OT prophet and the NT apostle. Robert L. Thomas concludes:
The attempt to establish two levels of authority and accuracy for the product of the gift of prophecy, with the result that a secondary kind of prophecy is detected (Grudem, pp. 73-74, 262; Carson, pp. 94-100) has no convincing biblical evidence to support it.(32)
It seems however, that the issue of women praying and prophesying in the local congregation does not demand office holding or authority over men. True, proclamation gifts generally are authoritative in nature but this does not require that all such speaking situations demand an authoritative tone. The limitation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 seems to focus the authority issue, to exclude men.
Women Remaining Silent in the Local Church:
In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Paul commands women to remain silent in the church. The traditional hierarchial interpretation, views these passages as limiting the proclamation ministry of women as to audience (i.e., women to women but not women to men) and/or occasion (i.e., during private conversation but not public gatherings). The egalitarian view has surfaced the cultural issues, limiting the apostolic command to specific historical problems at Corinth and Ephesus. Accordingly, although there may be times when women are to remain silent in the local church gatherings, these passages are not to be taken as universally binding.
First, it is probable that the punctuation of verse 33, should read: "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, let your women keep silence..."(33) Paul's point being, that this is not simply an isolated command for the unique Corinthian cultural - this was the Apostle's consistent command. Implied in verse 36 is the Corinthians assumption of exemption.
An illustration of Paul's universal instruction for women to keep silent in the worship service of the local church, is 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The main command of verse 11 governs the paragraph - "let the woman learn."(34) The manner in which this learning was to take place, is expressed in the two appositional statements: "in silence" and "with all subjection." These two adverbial phrases, qualify the goal of "learning." In contrast to those who would not learn in silence and subjection, is the Apostle's practice: "But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man."(35) (vs.12) The imperative verb epitripo, refers to a command. Paul was not simply giving subjective advice concerning his occasional practice, but repeating his constant apostolic command. But why? Why did he forbid women to teach men or exercise authority over men?
On the two reasons he gives in this paragraph (i.e., the priority of Adam's creation and the deception of Eve), it is difficult to understand a cultural limitation. Why would Paul appeal to two transcultural reasons, for a limited cultural practice? At best, the egalitarians must read a limited cultural answer or their position crumbles. This is the Achilles heal of the evangelical egalitarian movement!
THE APPLICATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF THE ROLE OF WOMEN'S MINISTRY
The role of women's ministry has not yet been defined within the evangelical world. Unfortunately, those who would debate the egalitarian or hierarchial positions, have not developed the positive aspects of women's ministry. The negative question, "Is there a limitation of office and function, for women in the local church?" needs careful definition, but not at the expense of the positive question, "How should women minister in the local church?" The concerns that Betty Friedan expressed almost thirty years ago, are valid. Yet, her solutions challenge the Biblical teaching of women's ministry. The role of women's ministry in the local church is defined in Titus 2:3-5.
The Eight fold Teaching Curriculum:
The New Testament teaches that younger women are to center their ministry around the domestic challenges, which must be defined around the eight fold curriculum of Titus 2:4-6. The older women are to tutor the younger women in these specific areas of ministry, which together give the balance and challenge to confront the "feminine mystique."(36) The existence of a "feminine mystique" has been caused by the neglect of aged women to center their primary ministry around a domestic emphasis that disciples younger women!(37) The aged women are to teach the younger women in eight specific areas.
First, aged women are to teach the younger women to be Sober-minded. This is the same term used in vs. 2, meaning to be fully alert and aware. In the historical context of Titus (cf. 1:10-16), this would refer to an awareness of false teachers and deceivers.(38) Notice that in each of the first four groups, ethical conduct should first of all be governed by sober-mindedness!(39) The Lord desires that the younger women be aware and alert to spiritual challenges and life! And it is the responsibility of the older women to instruct them to be such.
Second, aged women are to teach younger women to Love their Husbands. Today we take this for granted. Wiersbe reminds us: "In our Western society, a man and woman fall in love and then get married; but in the East, marriages were less romantic. Often the two got married and then had to learn to love each other." Getz also reminds us, "many women in the first century were used as marital conveniences to produce offspring. There is usually no real sense of commitment, security, or fondness under these circumstances." This is perhaps why Paul used phileo (translated "love") instead of agapeo. Phileo suggests an emotional affection toward the object loved. Older women are to instruct the younger women in the art of loving their own husbands.
Third, aged women are to teach younger women to Love their Children. Again, this refers to a mental and emotional love for her children. This speaks of the practical aspects of loving their children. (e.g., Proverbs 13:24) "Their difficulty in loving their children probably relates to the same reasons for their difficulty in loving their husbands. Bearing children as a result of dutiful performance doesn't set a very good stage for a love relationship between mother and children. Resentment toward a husband can easily be transferred to the children." (Getz) Older women are to teach the younger women in the art of loving children. Child neglect and abuse would hence vanish from our churches!
Fourth, aged women are to teach younger women to be Discreet. The same word (sophronos) translated as "temperate" (vs. 2) meaning "to have a self-controlled mind and heart." The older women are to instruct the younger women in the mastery control of the mind..
Fifth, aged women are to teach younger women to be Chaste. The word hagnos means "pure." Wiersbe says, "purity in mind and heart." Not only are older women to instruct the younger women to control their mind, but also to keep the mind pure.
Sixth, the aged women are to teach the younger women to be Keepers at Home. The Greek word is oikourgous, lit., "homeworkers." Rienecker and Rogers point out: "In a Jewish household the married woman had to grind flour, bake, launder, cook, nurse children, make the beds, spin wool, keep the house, and was also responsible for hospitality and the care of guests."(40) Such a wife is to be distinguished from the busybody whose idleness is a curse to her and all her acquaintances (cf. 1 Timothy 5:13,14). Her base of operations and ministry is centered in the home.
Seventh, aged women are to teach younger women to be Good. Some translate, "kind; excellence," to suggest that this person does everything with a high commitment to the best. Yet Paul seems to define what he means, in 1 Tim. 5:9,10. The older women are to instruct the younger women to be kind!
Last, the aged women are to teach the younger women to be Obedient to their Husbands. The verb hupotasso means "to be submissive or to be in subjection to." (cf. Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18). Only an older woman can give valuable insight to a younger woman into subjection to a husband.
The reason mentioned why the "younger women" should be taught and should conduct themselves by these eight characteristics is "that the Word of God be not blasphemed." To blaspheme (blasphemeo) is "to speak reproachfully, to revile, calumniate, rail at." It is the credibility of the Word of God itself that is at stake!
Just as it is true that a "feminine mystique" creates a frustration among women to look for something more (i.e., a career, involvement in a movement or cause, etc.), so a "male mystique," where frustrated men seek for productive purpose is created by men removing themselves from the high calling of expanding the kingdom of God. Both "mystiques" are the result of a cultural shift from godly priorities!
1. Peter C. Kratocoski, "The American Family: Decline or Rebirth?" USA Today , September 1982, p. 70; "Death of the Family?" Newsweek , 17 January 1983, pp. 26-28; Rowan A. Wakefield. "The Changing American Family," The Futurist , December 1984, pp. 17-18.
2. Carl B. Hoch, Jr., "The Role of Women in the Church: A Survey of Current Approaches" Grace Theological Journal , 8.2 (1987): 241-51. The "Evangelical Colloquium on Women and the Bible" held in Chicago in October 1984, drew a significant attendance with InterVarsity Press publishing the articles in book form under the title, "Women, Authority and the Bible." The theme "Male and Female in Biblical and Theological Perspectives" drew a record attendance to the Evangelical Theological Society thirty-eighth annual meeting. The ETS followed with an entire quarterly journal given to the issue, in March 1987.
3. The Council for Biblical Equality published the statement, "Men, Women and Biblical Equality" (1987) which has been endorsed by such evangelical leaders as: Stanley N. and Patricia Gundry, Roger Nicole, Catherine Clark Kroeger, D. Stuart Briscoe, F.F. Bruce, Walter Dunnett, Gordon Fee, Vernon Grounds, Richard C. Halverson, David Allen Hubbard, Bill Hybels, Kenneth Kantzer, Walter Liefeld, Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen, William and Aida Spencer, and Ruth Tucker.
4. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood began with "The Danvers Statement" (1987) and is endorsed by: Gleason Archer, Wayne A. Grudem, H. Wayne House, R. Kent Hughes, James B. Hurley, S. Lewis Johnson, George W. Knight, Timothy and Beverly LaHaye, Douglas J. Moo, John Piper, Bruce Waltke, Carl F.H. Henry, Jerry Farwell, D. James Kennedy, Erwin Lutzer, J.I. Packer, Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers, R.C. Sproul., Joseph M. Stowell III-, John F. Walvoord and John MacArthur, Jr.
5. The broader subject of the role of women's ministry, developing the Biblical domestic responsibilities and challenges of the godly woman, are not here addressed.
6. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, "Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to the Present" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishers, 1987), p. 16. Although this book is over 550 pages, it presents only the briefest summary of the subject of the contribution of women to the ministry of the church.
7. The most precise presentation of the non-evangelical equalitarian view is edited by A.Y.Collins, "Feminism Perspectives on Biblical Scholarship" (Missoula, Mont: Scholars, 1985).
8. cf. Betty Rossan, "Three Short Sentences You Should Know About," HIS , January 1978, p. 4. cf. Betty Friedan, "The Feminine Mystique," (New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1984 reprint). Early works appeared supporting a feminist agenda for society, such as British writer Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Women," published in 1792. Basically this work appealed to educational equality for women. In 1838 antislavery leader Sarah M. Grimke published a pamphlet, "Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women," which challenged prevailing theological hierarchial views of the Bible. However, these feminist challenges to evangelical thought in America basically died down after feminists won the right of suffrage in passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The feminist revival was championed by the National Organization for Women (NOW), which rallied around Friedan's book, "The Feminist Mystique."
9. Ronald and Beverly Allen, "Liberated Traditionalism: Men and Women in Balance" (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1985), p. 33. An earlier work, "The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir, was published in France in 1952 but waited to be translated into English until 1974, well after Friedan's work has ignited the feminist movement in America.
10. Among significant contemporary contributions to the non-evangelical equalitarian feminist literature are: Margaret Sanger's, "Women and the New Race: (1920); Kate Millett's, "Sexual Politics" (1970); Mary Daly's, "The Church and the Second Sex" (1968); and Gloria Steinem's article, "Pink-Collar Workers' (1977).
11. Gordon's book: sees Acts 2 fulfilling the Joel 2 prophecy of the women's prophetic ministry under the new covenant; women are to pray in the local church meeting "in like manner" to men, according to 1 Timothy 2:8-11; 1 Corinthians 11 teaches that women are to be engaged in prayer and prophecy in the public worship service of the local church; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is to be culturally understood, as not a binding command; and in Romans 16, Phoebe exercises the office of a "deacon," which is a place of definite authority.
12. P.B. Fitzwater, "Women: Her Mission, Position, and Ministry" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949). The impact of Fitzwater's position was replaced by Charles C. Ryrie's, "The Place of Women in the Church" (New York: Macmillian, 1958), the publishing rights of which, Moody Bible Institute bought in 1970 and republished as "The Role of Women in the Church."
13. This was further supported by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott in "Women, Men and the Bible" (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1977), who built on Jewett's thesis.
14. Richard and Joyce Boldrey, "Chauvinist or Feminist: Paul's View of Women" (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1976); cf. "Women in Paul's Life" Trinity Studies 22 (1972): 1-36. Although Scanzoni and Hardesty's "All We're Meant to Be," was published 2 years earlier (1974) and sought to offer a biblical approach to the feminist cause, it lacked exegetical support.
15. Catherine and Richard Kroeger, "Pandemonium and Silence at Corinth" The Reformed Journal 28 (June 1978): 6-11; "Sexual Identity in Corinth" The Reformed Journal 28 (December 1978): 11-15; and "Ancient Heresies and a Strange Greek Verb" The Reformed Journal 29 (March 1979): 12-15.
16. John R. Rice, "Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers (Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Sword of the Lord, 1941). Rice however, wrote twenty years before Friedan's "Feminist Mystique," dealing with an earlier form of feminism.
17. Ryrie, p. 146.
18. Elizabeth Elliot, "Let Me Be a Woman" (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1976). Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women of America provided another popular work in "The Restless Woman" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984).
19. George W. Knight III, "The New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationship of Men and Women" (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977).
20. Susan T. Foh, "Women and the Word of God: A Response to Biblical Feminism" (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981).
21. James B. Hurley, "Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publications, 1981).
22. H. Wayne House, "The Role of Women in Ministry Today" (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1990). The same author's Th.D. thesis for Condordia Seminary, "An Investigation of Contemporary Feminist Arguments on Paul's Teaching on the Role of Women in the Church," (1985) provides an excellent summary of hierarchial arguments.
23. Other passages are critical within the dialogue between egalitarian and hierarchial issue, such as : passages relating to the role distinctions between men and women in the home (Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18,19; 1 Peter 3:1-7, etc.); passages relating to the high esteem of women by Jesus Christ (Matt. 12:49-50; 15:22-28; 19:3-12; Lk. 7:36-50; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; Jn. 4:5-30; etc.); passages relating to a woman's domestic responsibilities (Titus 2:4-5; 1 Timothy 5:9-15); and passages relative to the pre- and post fall (Genesis 1:28; 2:7,8, 18-22; 3:1-19; Romans 5:1; 1 Timothy 2:13-15).
24. The masculine form prostates , means "one who stands before. Rienecker and Rogers explain, "The masculine form of the word was used by the Romans for the legal representative of a foreigner. In Jewish communities it meant the legal representative of wealthy patron. Here it indicates the personal help given to Paul." cf. "Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), p. 383.
25. W. Baur, W. Arndt and F.W. Gingrich, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature" (Chicago, 4th edn. 1957), 726.
26. James Hurley states this argument: "Was Phoebe a 'deacon' or a 'servant'? Paul's wording simply does not resolve the matter. If the name in the text were Timothy or Judas, ninety-nine per cent of the scholars would presume that diakonos meant 'deacon' and a few footnotes would remark that it could mean 'servant.' p. 124.
27. Unfortunately, the majority of egalitarians and hierarchists try to line up Romans 16:1 under their position. Single issue hermeneutics however, ignores the obvious authorial intent of the passage. When the specific authorial intent cannot be decided on lexical, syntactical and contextual grounds, it is best to leave the issue unresolved.
28. William Sandy and Arthur C. Headlam, "The Epistle to the Romans: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary". The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1980 impression,) p. 423. Cranfield's commentary on Romans agrees with Sandy and Headlam, adding an application concerning the feminist role contemporary controversy: "That Paul should not only include a woman (on the view taken above) among the apostles but actually describe her, together with Andronicus, as outstanding among them, is highly significant evidence (along with the importance he accords in this chapter to Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis, the mother of Rufus, Julia and the sister of Nereus) of the falsity of the widespread and stubbornly persistent notion that Paul had a low view of women and something to which the Church as a whole has not yet paid sufficient attention." cf. C.E.B. Cranfield, "The Epistle to the Romans: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary: The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1979), p. 789.
29. It is interesting that Jesus did not appoint any women to the office of Apostle, which is a strong point for the hierarchal position. Although it must be granted that an argument from silence should not be used to establish a doctrinal point. It is also of note, that nowhere in the New Testament is the office of elder given to a woman. Yet women prophets are mentioned in the New Testament.
30. MacArthur comments, "The mention of women's praying and prophesying is sometimes used to prove that Paul acknowledged the right of their teaching, preaching, and leading in church worship. But he makes no mention here of the church at worship or in the time of formal teaching. Perhaps he has in view praying and prophesying in public places, rather than in the worship of the congregation. This would certainly fit with the very clear directives in 1 Corinthians (14:34) and in his first letter to Timothy (2:12)...Women may have the gift of prophecy, as did Philip's four daughters (Acts 21:9), but they are normally not to prophesy in the meetings of the church were men are present," cf. John MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Corinthians" (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984), 256,7.
31. H. Wayne House, "Should a Woman Prophesy or Preach Before Men?" Bibliotheca Sacra, 145 (April-June, 1988): 161. Grudem agrees, and seeks to conclude that New Testament prophecy includes the speaking of merely human words to report something God brings to mind, and hence may be fallible and nonauthoritative in nature. cf. Wayne Grudem, "The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today" (Westchester: Crossway Books, 1988); Wayne Grudem, "The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians" (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982).
32. Robert L. Thomas, "Exegetical Digest of First Corinthians 12-14" (copyright by Robert L. Thomas, 1988), p. 31. "The degree of authority of a prophet was less than that of the OT prophets and the NT apostles, but some kind of authority was present (David E. Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World , p. 204; David Hill, New Testament Prophecy , p. 87). The limited degree of their authority is reflected in the fact that their prophecies were challengeable (1 Cor. 14:30) (Hill, p. 135)." p. 31.
33. There seems to be a logical kinship between this phrase (i.e., the universality of this practice) and the end of the paragraph in verse 36. cf. Frederic L. Godet, "Commentary on St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians," vol. 2. Translated by Rev. A. Cusin. 1886. Reprint, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), p. 309; cf. marginal note in NASV. cf. Thomas, pg. 213-216.
34. Hence, the egalitarian feminist charge that Paul echoed the rabbinic concern to limit women from learning, is answered. Paul commanded women to learn!
35. Philip Payne contends that the term authentein (KJV, "usurp authority") refers to a dominating, lording over men, which would allow that women could exercise authority but not dominating authority. cf. Payne, "Liberating Women in Ephesus," pp. 175-177; Hommes, pp. 18-20. However, the conjunction oude to create a needed hendiadys (a single coherent idea) has not been found within the entire Pauline corpus. The verb authenteo in relation to women in 1 Timothy 2:12, being joined by oude , demands that "to teach" and "to usurp authority" are similar ideas, but not a single concept.
36. The adjective translated "young" ( neas ) in Titus 2:4, means "new" or "fresh" in the sense of newly married. The primary teaching of the older women to the younger women, relates to a specific tutoring process during the foundational years.
37. Although Titus is to instruct aged men (vs. 2), aged women (vss. 3,4), younger men (vss. 6-8), and servants (vss. 9,10), he is not to tutor the "younger women." Titus would be unwise to place himself in a compromising position of training younger women and would be generally unprepared to do so, in a practical way. Hence, the ultimate responsibility centers with the elder women.
38. Originally nephalios meant, "one in control of his faculties, without the influence of wind." Here it refers to alertness and awareness, or there would be a redundancy in 1:7,8 and 2:3 (i.e., "likewise" refers grammatically to the six exhortations to the aged men in vs. 2, including "soberminded").
39. The reason Titus would not need to exhort "servants" (vss. 9,10) to be "soberminded," is that each slave on Crete would fall into one of the already mentioned age classifications - an aged man, aged woman, or young man.
40. Reinecker and Rogers, p. 654. The KJV translates "keepers at home" ( oikourous ) which is based on a different textual reading than the NASV and NIV, oikourgous ("to be busy at home"). This latter reading has been accepted by Metzger, "A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament" (United Bible Society, 1971), p. 654. Either word however, would suggest a domestic center of operations for the young women.