Please discuss the role of women - in the church and out

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JoyFullMom

Puritan Board Junior
But I wouldn't recommend a man cultivating a taste for a woman-teacher. With the availability of male teachers on recorded media, why should a grown man pursue sitting under a lady's "ministry"? And I mean "pursuit" and not "opportunity." I'm talking about a man who says, "I want her to rule me, biblically."

This is one thing that always puzzled me when I worked for a Christian ministry, (years ago), the number of men who would sit under the woman teacher...and at that time, a well-known pastor was teaching in the evenings, yet they would come in the mornings and sit under the woman.
 
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Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
This is one thing that always puzzled me when I worked for a Christian ministry, (years ago), the number of men who would sit under the woman teacher...and at that time, a well-known pastor was teaching in the evenings, yet they would come in the mornings and sit under the woman.

Really? That's so...odd.
 
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JoyFullMom

Puritan Board Junior
Wow, I should have previewed that sentence structure! :)

I did want to *cautiously* add, I noted an attitude amongst some of the women who regularly attended EVERYTHING that was held there. It was definitely one of superiority, *in my opinion*. I observed women who, by listening to their prayer requests and *sharing*, seemed to feel that their knowledge surpassed their husband's so much so that they questioned their husband's ability to lead them. It was an observation that bothered me because most men DON'T have hours to sit under in-depth teaching a couple of times a week....but it doesn't disqualify them from leading.

I am not painting with a broad stroke here. I know this doesn't apply to *all*, but I have avoided women's studies pretty much since I left my employment there.
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
There have been some good solid responses above! After reading the thread it seems to me that you've had exposure to complementarianism so the real issue lies in strictly defined roles for every woman. (If I'm wrong, please correct me!) I can understand this struggle because it is difficult to know what the Biblical role of a woman looks like practically speaking. Partly, because of our time period as well as the culture we live in. I think in other parts of the world and during Biblical times this wouldn't have been such an issue as it is today.....since the roles of woman and man have been blurred so greatly!

In regards to reading theological books, you have encountered much of what I have as well.....people telling you stop reading deep theological books or the puritans and that you should focus exclusively on "wifely/motherly" learnings. While I do wholeheartedly believe that it is good for a woman to learn and grow at cultivating her skills within the home, I don't believe that our learning should end there!

I think it is the DUTY of every believer, whether a man or woman or even child.......to search the Scriptures, to learn and grow in the knowledge of God, and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling! On that note, I think we need to examine ourselves and why we are learning .....is our motivation to rule over husbands or men in the church? Is it to usurp their headship and authority over us? Is it to make up for any lack in their leadership or authority? (If that is the case we ought to be encouraging Godly leadership and learning among men, but not take over their roles!) And are we learning at the neglect of our households or are we learning to the profit of our households? That should be the real question for every woman!

God has clearly laid out unique and complementarian roles for both men and women. And while we are equal in our worth, we are not equal the roles that God has created for us. Individual women may or may not be married....but the principle of being a helpmeet will transcend every role that God has placed us in! We were created specifically as helpers, and God is glorified and well-pleased when we fulfill that role with joy in our hearts in whatever capacity! Whether we are single, or married, or widowed....we ought to be CHARACTERIZED by the spirit of gentleness and submission in our lives! (1 Peter 3: 1-7) We may not all perform the exact same "duties" or have the exact same gifts or talents, but the principle of being a helper should still apply! We can't strictly define what that will look like, but the older women ought to teach and encourage the younger women to be keepers of the home and care for their families. (Titus 2: 3-5) This is the goal that we ought to strive for.......the principle should remain but the application of it will vary with every woman and calling in her life!

Anyhow, those are SOME of my thoughts on this broad subject, but I hope it helps somewhat! :)
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I think it is the DUTY of every believer, whether a man or woman or even child.......to search the Scriptures, to learn and grow in the knowledge of God, and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling! On that note, I think we need to examine ourselves and why we are learning .....is our motivation to rule over husbands or men in the church? Is it to usurp their headship and authority over us? Is it to make up for any lack in leadership or authority? (If that is the case we ought to be encouraging Godly leadership and learning among men!) And are we learning at the neglect of our households or are we learning to the profit of our households? That should be the real question for every woman!

Yvonne,

I think you've hit on something really important here - motivation (for both men and women) is key. If we are learning theology just to appear smart or to one up someone else, its all useless. This point is particularly relevant to this conversation about women in the church, but I think its quite relevant to all Christians, really. Thanks!
 

jules5solas

Puritan Board Freshman
Wow! Some really great responses! Thank you so much to all! Totally agreeing with Yvonne, that we need to examine our hearts. Often, women have that attitude of 'my husband doesn't study as much as I do and doesn't attend as many Bible studies as I do therefore he is not being the type of spiritual leader he should be.' or some equivalent.

I am going to be studying this a little more to formulate some solid scriptural basis for what I see developing here.

My comment on the whole 'being single' vs 'marriage is God's normative plan for women' is: Of course, God purposed that marriage should be the normative plan for us however, there are situations that God has not introduced a suitable man to marry. There is no rebellion in that.

However, I think you are meaning to say that modern women often shun marriage and choose to live single (and sometimes, rebellious) lives. I have 'Christian' friends who would rather continue to hang out with friends, have a long-term relationship with a boy but not get married for now. I cannot understand how that is in line with Scripture. Anyway, I don't know if I'm making sense any more. I'm going to go read a Puritan.

Good night!
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Interestingly I was surprised to learn that Calvin had female deacons/deaconnesses. But I do not know whether they had an authoritative role and were ordained, or whether they just had certain functions e.g. cooking for the poor, or visiting other women, under the authority of ordained male deacons.

I think "their women" in I Timothy 3:11, either refers to the wives of the deacons, or possibly women who acted under the male ordained/authoritative deacons in providing meals for the poor. I Timothy 2:12 and Acts 6:1-6 goes against ordained and authoritative deaconnesses. But women carrying out certain functions under the authority of the male deacons' court (Presbyterianism) is fine.

Maybe they should be called church workers rather than deaconnesses to avoid confusion and people thinking that they are ordained and not under authority.

-----Added 7/30/2009 at 07:59:49 EST-----

Quote from Julie
However, I think you are meaning to say that modern women often shun marriage and choose to live single (and sometimes, rebellious) lives. I have 'Christian' friends who would rather continue to hang out with friends, have a long-term relationship with a boy but not get married for now. I cannot understand how that is in line with Scripture. Anyway, I don't know if I'm making sense any more. I'm going to go read a Puritan.

Well it would go completely against Scripture if there was any hanky-panky! Larger Catechism 139, speaks of "undue delay of marriage" as being against the 7th Commandment.
 

Neopatriarch

Puritan Board Freshman
1) Women are never to speak in the church during public worship. (Including reading scripture, giving out a hymn, only singing)

1 Corinthans 11:5 - Did Paul Allow Women To Prophesy in Church?

2) Women are never to teach men. Period. (except in Sunday School - interesting lack of consistency)

This is practically the definitive work on 1 Timothy 2:9-15:[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Women-Church-Analysis-Application-Timothy/dp/080102904X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1248956205&sr=8-1"]Women in the Church[/ame]. Also, I thought William Mounces commentary on the pastoral epistles was good on this. [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Word-Biblical-Commentary-Pastoral-Epistles/dp/0849902452/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1248956310&sr=8-4"]Mounce's commentary[/ame]

There's plenty more but I am so grieved writing this because of the restrictions that were placed on us over the years. We were limited to devotions, missionary ministries, serving food and cleaning the church and teaching Sunday school (they left teaching Sunday school to the women). I am interested in what your thoughts are. Just throw anything out there, I have a lot to work through!

After you're done with Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem you should read Grudem's book Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth (you can read it online, just google the title).

Also, William Mouser has some good bible studies. See:

ICGS News (Five Aspects of Man and Five Aspects of Woman are quite good in my opinion)

Of course, there is always a wealth of infomation at cbmw.org. And CCC-Forum at Yahoo!Groups is set up specifically to discuss questions like the ones you've raised. Mike McMillan is on the ball regarding headcoverings. :)
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Interestingly I was surprised to learn that Calvin had female deacons/deaconnesses. But I do not know whether they had an authoritative role and were ordained, or whether they just had certain functions e.g. cooking for the poor, or visiting other women, under the authority of ordained male deacons.


Richard,

I don't want to side-track the good discussion going on in this thread but thought this deserves comment for those following.

Yes, Mr. Calvin's church had 'deaconess' at his Geneva consistory- an unordained position (often nurse-like function) that assisted the I Timothy 3 office of Deacon, which is qualified to men only.

However, they were not at all based on the egalitarian notions cited in the debate in this generation.

Mr. Calvin did not base them on I Timothy 3 as an authoritative office as is sometimes done in our generation.

Read Mr. Calvin's commentary on I Timothy and elsewhere and you will see he was never uncertain about the I Timothy 3 office of deacon being qualified to men- or that the wives of I Timothy 3 deacons had to be qualified (nor that the office of deacon is an authoritative role, part of the basic governance of the particular church).

Mr. Calvin’s commentary shows his understanding that the “wives” or “women” referred to in I Timothy 3 were the “wives” of both elders (bishops) and deacons.

Mr. Calvin speaks of "two classes" with the 'deaconess' patterned more after the (unordained) I Timothy 5 servant-widow model, not after the authoritative governing office mentioned in I Timothy 3.

The servant widow qualifications of I Timothy 3 are very specific (e.g. 60 years old minimum, unmarried, destitute, will not remarry, godly characteristics in life pattern). When the church failed to follow them, as in Calvin’s generation, by for example lowering the age to 40, etc. problems arose. Moral problems, breaking vows of celibacy, etc. so the practice of ‘deaconess’ fell into disuse.

Don't forget, in Calvin's day, the practice was that 'deaconess' were required to take a lifetime vow of celibacy. This reflected both that they did not have the responsibilities of husband and children and really had nobody to provide for them. In that time, they were destitute so the church took them on as support in return for a lifetime vow of celibacy, under the authority of the Deacons and Elders, not an ordained function. Often, Mr. Calvin used them in nurse functions to the refugee families that flooded into Switzerland at that time.

This is completely unlike the debate going on today in for example, the PCA, where egalitarian arguments are "wishing" into I Timothy 3, devaluing the spiritual role of ordination and church government, etc. all to accommodate a view they want (not the God wants).

So, Mr. Calvin understood the office of I Timothy 3 Deacon as an authoritative one, qualified to men only in accordance today (contrary to modern assertions).

For a well-written examination of both Scripture and church history on this point (that the office of deacon is not for women, like the office of elder and pastor, and bishop, etc.), you may find helpful Mr. Brian Schwertley’s paper on this:
A Historical and Biblical Examination of Women Deacons
:)


I think "their women" in I Timothy 3:11, either refers to the wives of the deacons, or possibly women who acted under the male ordained/authoritative deacons in providing meals for the poor. I Timothy 2:12 and Acts 6:1-6 goes against ordained and authoritative deaconnesses. But women carrying out certain functions under the authority of the male deacons' court (Presbyterianism) is fine.

Maybe they should be called church workers rather than deaconnesses to avoid confusion and people thinking that they are ordained and not under authority.

-----Added 7/30/2009 at 07:59:49 EST-----

Quote from Julie
However, I think you are meaning to say that modern women often shun marriage and choose to live single (and sometimes, rebellious) lives. I have 'Christian' friends who would rather continue to hang out with friends, have a long-term relationship with a boy but not get married for now. I cannot understand how that is in line with Scripture. Anyway, I don't know if I'm making sense any more. I'm going to go read a Puritan.

Well it would go completely against Scripture if there was any hanky-panky! Larger Catechism 139, speaks of "undue delay of marriage" as being against the 7th Commandment.
.
 
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jules5solas

Puritan Board Freshman
Also, William Mouser has some good bible studies. See:

ICGS News (Five Aspects of Man and Five Aspects of Woman are quite good in my opinion)

Of course, there is always a wealth of infomation at cbmw.org. And CCC-Forum at Yahoo!Groups is set up specifically to discuss questions like the ones you've raised. Mike McMillan is on the ball regarding headcoverings. :)

All your resources look great! I am particularly interested in the ones by Mouser. So, this is a study from a reformed viewpoint? I am intrigued with the 5 aspects studies.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
Julie, I must admit I haven't taken the time to read all of the replies to this thread yet.

But I am one that you may have heard comment about women's ministries (either within the church or para-church) and teaching doctrine, so let me clarify my perspective on this, and maybe that will be helpful for you (or not).

I have concerns with ministries such as Beth Moore's, or with similarly structured women's ministries within the local church, not because they teach doctrine, but because that seems to be their primary purpose. My concern stems from two different directions. First, when women are receiving a large proportion of their theological teaching completely apart from their husbands, it undermines the spiritual leadership of the home. (This is especially true where there are not comparable men's studies going on.) Women in these ministries have a tendency to "grow beyond" their husbands, setting them up to feel more spiritual and, thus, disrespect their husbands, rather than to grow along with them. There is reason that we are to "ask [our] husbands at home" if we don't understand things. But I don't see anywhere in Scripture that we are forbidden to teach doctrine, or that we're forbidden to ask anyone else a question. (If that were the case, I would certainly not be here!)

Second, there are specific things that women are commanded in Scripture to teach other women. These tend to be the more practical things. The emphasis on doctrine in woman-to-woman ministries usually results in the neglect of these. Not that they cannot be neglected without that teaching! But so much time is devoted, in these ministries, to the teaching of doctrine that there really is not often time left for teaching the things we are specifically told to teach.

So the issue for me is emphasis or focus. To use a totally unrelated example, I would have the same issue if I sent my children to school and they spent 95% of the time playing baseball. I have no issue with baseball. There is nothing sinful about baseball. But that's not the purpose of school, and by focusing so much on baseball they're neglecting the real purpose. That doesn't mean they can't play baseball for a little while as part of their education regarding teamwork, physical fitness, etc. But I would expect that to be a small percentage and not the bulk.

-----Added 8/17/2009 at 02:19:31 EST-----

I would have to agree, in essence (and as a generality), with Ben's comment regarding single women, with one minor alteration - the understanding of "singleness" as being completely alone and independent, rather than unmarried.

Biblically, it is normative for a woman to be part of a family, whether she is married or not. The situation of a single woman living on her own, making her own living, etc., is largely a modern one. (Again, this is a generality. I'm sure there will exceptions, but we won't teach from them. ;) ) An unmarried woman living with her "family of origin" still has nearly all of the same opportunities available for ministry to her family as does a married woman - it's just her parents and siblings to whom she's ministering, rather than her spouse and children. And most of those very same actions can carry over to ministry in the church at large. Look at what "widows indeed" were expected to have done with their lives - essentially to be faithful spouses (as obviously they had been married), to raise children, and to provide hospitality in various ways. Unmarried women can still "raise" children and can certainly provide hospitality.
 

LeeJUk

Puritan Board Junior
1) Women are never to speak in the church during public worship. (Including reading scripture, giving out a hymn, only singing)

2) Women are never to teach men. Period. (except in Sunday School - interesting lack of consistency)

3) Women are to be mentors to other women but only in the realm of loving your husbands, being keepers at home, and in regards to the children. Not doctrine or anything that pertains to teaching the Bible.

4) Women are to cover their heads in corporal gatherings including Bible studies at home with men around.

5) Women are not to teach doctrine. Parachurch organizations like BSF, Beth Moore groups etc. are not scriptural because they have one woman teaching doctrine to other women.

6) The only males women are to teach are their own children and perhaps in a small setting like Priscilla and Aquila with Apollos.



1) I think that women absolutely can speak during worship and in the church. I think that you need to look at the context in which that verse is written.

We're talking about a church here where there was disorder and disruption in the services - this is the entire theme of 1 Corinthians. I think what Paul is saying is just re-iterating that the services must be done in order and not confusion. E.g. when someone is speaking women are to not to be shouting out during the sermon or asking their husbands during the services about something, instead they should wait till they get home and then ask their husbands if they didn't hear / understand something during the preaching.

To dogmatically declare that this means women aren't to speak in church from this verse in 1 cor is absolutely destroyed by the fact that in 1 Corinthians 11:2 onwards we see that

"And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved."

so we see women not being forbidden to pray or prophesy in the church.

2) Again I would reject the view that women aren't to teach in church. For various reasons that you can msg me about.

3) Actually I think women are to teach bible and doctrine to other women, i think again we've taken a few passages and ripped them out of context and imposed them on women.


4) lol at this one. no pauls not saying women are to wear hats in church.

5) again, i don't see any verses in the bible saying that women cannot teach doctrine or the bible to other women.

6) If we are to legalistically take that one verse in 1 timothy 2, without challenging the greek behind it and the context it was written in then I doubt you can even teach male children from that interpretation! It just says men it doesn't specify any age.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
An unmarried woman living with her "family of origin" still has nearly all of the same opportunities available for ministry to her family as does a married woman - it's just her parents and siblings to whom she's ministering, rather than her spouse and children.

If I tried to live at home at 23 years of age to "serve" my family, my parents would kick me out. (And rightfully so, in my opinion). I think there are very few families that can afford to financially support their grown unmarried daughters. Also, I think at a certain point, there are too many adults in the house. My mother and I do things very differently at times. We would be constantly tempted to argue if we lived together. I think this is often seen in families that take in an older female (or even male) relative.

Edit: to clarify, I don't think that its a bad idea to take in older relatives! I was just using that as an example of having too many adults in the house. Obviously, its a situation that takes a lot of patience, grace, and forbearance on everyone's part and I applaud those that do it. I just don't see a reason to take in a young person who has the ability to build their own home.
 
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A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, my dad is not rich by any means, but I have a 25-year-old and a 24-year-old sister who both live at home and serve in that context.
 

CatherineL

Puritan Board Freshman
The question was posed by Julie relating to casual theological discussions in mixed gender groups, but I'd also be interested in hearing thoughts about men and women in mixed-gender discussion based bible studies. If a theological question is thrown out by the teacher, and a women answers it insightfully, is she teaching (in a sense) men there? Should she be silent in all cases, or restrict herself only to asking questions, not offering answers?

I'd appreciate it, since we're in this situation right now with our small group - gone from studying/praying separated into men and women, and now the study is together. So far I've just been trying to learn in silence, asking my husband questions on the way home if they come up. But it sure is hard to keep my mouth shut! LOL
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
Well, my dad is not rich by any means, but I have a 25-year-old and a 24-year-old sister who both live at home and serve in that context.

Fair enough, but this is simply not an option extended to all single women. Even if I wanted this option, it would not be possible.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
The question was posed by Julie relating to casual theological discussions in mixed gender groups, but I'd also be interested in hearing thoughts about men and women in mixed-gender discussion based bible studies. If a theological question is thrown out by the teacher, and a women answers it insightfully, is she teaching (in a sense) men there? Should she be silent in all cases, or restrict herself only to asking questions, not offering answers?

This is one that we have struggled with, as well. We have found that it is beneficial for us ladies to at least hold back until it is apparent that all of the men have responded who wish to do so. (Otherwise, the women tend to jump in first and sort of "squash" those men who have less outgoing personalities.) But we have struggled with whether or not it is appropriate for us to take part in the discussion at all, and why, scripturally, it is the case that we should or should not.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The question was posed by Julie relating to casual theological discussions in mixed gender groups, but I'd also be interested in hearing thoughts about men and women in mixed-gender discussion based bible studies. If a theological question is thrown out by the teacher, and a women answers it insightfully, is she teaching (in a sense) men there? Should she be silent in all cases, or restrict herself only to asking questions, not offering answers?

I'd appreciate it, since we're in this situation right now with our small group - gone from studying/praying separated into men and women, and now the study is together. So far I've just been trying to learn in silence, asking my husband questions on the way home if they come up. But it sure is hard to keep my mouth shut! LOL

I Timothy 2

8I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

9In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

13For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

It's helpful when reading this part of Scripture to put it in context. I Timothy 2 and 3 were all run together in the original (Chapters were added later by the translators). So Chapter 3 where Paul qualifies offices in the church to men (e.g. elders and deacons), is built on the earlier doctrine (we call this a "didactic" part of Scripture, teaching doctrine as opposed to "historical narrative" and other parts of speech).

The Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture here goes right back to the creation order in establishing the authority patterns, relationships and responsibilities.

The context is "in the church" which one reasonably takes to mean under church authority, whatever location or circumstance that might be in.

So, understanding that,
If a theological question is thrown out by the teacher, and a women answers it insightfully, is she teaching (in a sense) men there? Should she be silent in all cases, or restrict herself only to asking questions, not offering answers?

I think this is referring to an authoritative situation "in the church" where men might be present. It seems this is what the passages have in view. (This means it does not have in view, for example Titus 2 where older women are told to instruct younger women).

So, I don't see this as preventing a woman from asking or answering a question in a Sunday School class, even if the "answer" reflects deep theological insight.

Now teaching a mixed adult audience- no. Because to teach authoritatively is...based on that authority that ought not be usurped as explained in I Timothy 2.

Now, we are all, men and women, under other duties and responsibilities- e.g. not causing others to stumble, avoiding even the appearance of evil, etc. so as one ought use great care not to give appearance of usurping authority. That's both a subjective and objective concept, like most things in the Christian life, involves both inward motivation (subjective) and external act (objective).

One other thing to consider- it is a wonderful when a woman asks her husband privately about doctrinal things. That is to be encouraged, and one reason it helps husband settle into his accountability for leading spiritually in the family.

But there are lots of situations where that is not possible- the woman is not married, husband is deployed fighting in Iraq, husband is not a Christian... one can think of many such situations. A woman is under the same command to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as is a man, even if her role is not one of ordinary ecclesiastical leadership or title.
 
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Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
The question was posed by Julie relating to casual theological discussions in mixed gender groups, but I'd also be interested in hearing thoughts about men and women in mixed-gender discussion based bible studies. If a theological question is thrown out by the teacher, and a women answers it insightfully, is she teaching (in a sense) men there? Should she be silent in all cases, or restrict herself only to asking questions, not offering answers?

This is one that we have struggled with, as well. We have found that it is beneficial for us ladies to at least hold back until it is apparent that all of the men have responded who wish to do so. (Otherwise, the women tend to jump in first and sort of "squash" those men who have less outgoing personalities.) But we have struggled with whether or not it is appropriate for us to take part in the discussion at all, and why, scripturally, it is the case that we should or should not.

I've seen this a lot. The women tend to crowd out the men during study discussions, Bible teachings, etc. I'm ashamed to say I've done it. A lot. And my excuse was, Oh, we're just supposed to be silent during worship, so now I can talk all I want! Such deception. It's still a church function. I don't speak even in Sunday School type situations anymore. If I want a concern addressed I hand Bill a note I've written on the bulletin or syllabus so that he can address it. I'm not saying that all Christian women should do this and I'm not judging women who talk during Sunday school. I just know myself and my own sin and temptation and I think it's better for me to be silent even in Sunday School type discussions.

A similar deception to the "It's Sunday school so I can talk all I want" subject is seen with these women's conference speakers (you mentioned this while mentioning Beth Moore) who teach women theology. They figure that since they're not teaching men, it's okay. Actually, if they're teaching theology publickly, they're playing the role of elders, whether or not they realize it. I refuse to support those programs.

William Einwechter has a sermon on sermonaudio.com where he discusses a part of worship which he calls interaction and why it is necessary. After the sermon he asks the male members of the church to critique his sermon, ask questions, etc. It's an excellent opportunity for the men. His is the only church that I know of that does this, but I like the idea. It only lasts for about 10 minutes, then they have the doxology, benediction, etc.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Biblically, it is normative for a woman to be part of a family, whether she is married or not. The situation of a single woman living on her own, making her own living, etc., is largely a modern one. (Again, this is a generality. I'm sure there will exceptions, but we won't teach from them. ;) ) An unmarried woman living with her "family of origin" still has nearly all of the same opportunities available for ministry to her family as does a married woman - it's just her parents and siblings to whom she's ministering, rather than her spouse and children. And most of those very same actions can carry over to ministry in the church at large. Look at what "widows indeed" were expected to have done with their lives - essentially to be faithful spouses (as obviously they had been married), to raise children, and to provide hospitality in various ways. Unmarried women can still "raise" children and can certainly provide hospitality.
I think this is to misunderstand Paul's commendation of singleness, which was that a married woman must care for the things of the world in pleasing her husband; but the unmarried is free to serve the Lord. Free from what? Sex, merely? Surely, from all the cares of having one's life focused around serving a man (I presume the argument is that the woman should be under a male head in the household -- this puts her in the same position as her mom as regards serving her father and family -- there is therefore no advantage to her in being single, on Paul's line of argumentation).

Lydia appears to have been the head of her own household.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
I did not mean to suggest that an unmarried woman should not do anything except serve her family. But our culture seems to have so lost this whole "side" of things that it's easy for unmarried young adult women to wonder what there is for them to do, besides a full-time career. These things provide a simple starting point.
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
I did not mean to suggest that an unmarried woman should not do anything except serve her family. But our culture seems to have so lost this whole "side" of things that it's easy for unmarried young adult women to wonder what there is for them to do, besides a full-time career. These things provide a simple starting point.

Actually, the idea of a woman working is more than cultural: back in "the day" unmarried women worked as maids for the rich, as teachers for kids and nurses/nannies for centuries. The idea of staying home with the family was limited for most of recorded history to the wealthy. :2cents:
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Rachel, I don't think a full time career is necessarily outside of that 'side' of things -- Lydia was a seller of purple; she probably went on being a seller of purple -- Christians have always found ways to serve God in the cultural context in which they find themselves (so there are single girls working 'full time' with street children in Mexico; and a single girl I know takes her free time and spending money from a full time office job to visit nursing homes and give to the elderly etc. as she doesn't have a husband and family depending on her) -- but I understand what you're saying, though I personally thought Ben's post a little imbalanced (no offense meant Ben! :): I don't know a single unmarried Christian lady :) (and I know quite a few) who doesn't wish to be married; but in keeping with a submissive role, they don't have much choice in the matter and have to wait for some guy to take the initiative. If one is serious about this view of things -- all women should be submissive to some man in the form of a husband -- it seems like the frontal attack ought to start with single guys, on whom the fate of all these ladies depends? Indeed it's a bit ironic to attack women meekly waiting for someone to ask them to share his life for insubordination in their single estate! (I realise that some women need such a rebuke, but the puritanboard is probably not their major gathering place.)

I also have to take some issue with the idea that women should not meet to study theology, as stated: I think we're probably mostly in agreement; but if theology is leading women to despise their husbands or leading a married woman to neglect her duties at home, then it is possibly a problem with the woman and quite as possibly with the theology (a misunderstanding of Paul's teaching about the difference between married and single women, even?) but I don't think it can be attributed to a problem with women getting together to learn and discuss theology per se. God is our portion and joy; He is that to a married woman in a different way than to the single; but that being so, theology is hardly the most dangerous thing for a group of women to take interest in (though I'm just as pleased to discuss Pampered Chef -- they used to have the coolest oil dispensers). If women are not learning theology anywhere but in such a group, surely the problem is with the church and the husband, not with women meeting to take joy in such things? I just don't think such principles (she is not to learn something apart from her husband) can really be taken and extended as if they were moral laws -- this seems to make a man a mediator between us and Christ. We learn from men and women on the board who have no headship relation to us: we read books by men who aren't our rightful husbands or pastors: presumably we can discuss what we learned from another woman with our husbands quite as ably as we can discuss what we learned from a book. & what we learn, if true and learned in the sincere hunger for truth, will lead us to be more submitted to our husbands as we apply it biblically. I have sometimes winced at some of the things women say, where they hold stronger or different theological positions than their husbands (and I'm sure I have made such blunders myself); but I haven't attributed this to either one of us knowing too much about God?

I think we would agree that there are many cases where a theological discussion group for women is not the best use of a woman's time (even as regards time we have available for enjoying theology); but I don't think a case can be made that it is simply an inappropriate thing for women to do?
 

amishrockstar

Puritan Board Freshman
1) Women are never to speak in the church during public worship. (Including reading scripture, giving out a hymn, only singing)
Nope

2) Women are never to teach men. Period. (except in Sunday School - interesting lack of consistency)
Nope

3) Women are to be mentors to other women but only in the realm of loving your husbands, being keepers at home, and in regards to the children. Not doctrine or anything that pertains to teaching the Bible.
Nope

4) Women are to cover their heads in corporal gatherings including Bible studies at home with men around.
Nope

5) Women are not to teach doctrine. Parachurch organizations like BSF, Beth Moore groups etc. are not scriptural because they have one woman teaching doctrine to other women.
Nope

6) The only males women are to teach are their own children and perhaps in a small setting like Priscilla and Aquila with Apollos.
Nope

I don't agree with any of these statements
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
Heidi, I think that we are in substantial agreement. :)

I wasn't intending to discount careers for single women, either (that would be a whole other discussion, for one thing!). I just know that in our current culture, it is assumed that a career is the only thing available for a single woman to do, so those nurturing/hospitable ministries can tend (as a whole, not necessarily by individual women) to get overlooked.

And I think I agree with your whole paragraph about studying theology.
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
Heidi, I think that we are in substantial agreement. :)

I wasn't intending to discount careers for single women, either (that would be a whole other discussion, for one thing!). I just know that in our current culture, it is assumed that a career is the only thing available for a single woman to do, so those nurturing/hospitable ministries can tend (as a whole, not necessarily by individual women) to get overlooked.

And I think I agree with your whole paragraph about studying theology.

But there are a lot of single women/empty nesters who are gifted in nurturing and hospitality and can and do use their gifts in work and in ministries (then there are those of us marrieds and singles who cannot cook, sew or entertain... :oops:).
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
Some of us married ladies cannot cook, sew, or entertain by nature, either. ;) We manage, out of necessity!
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
Some of us married ladies cannot cook, sew, or entertain by nature, either. ;) We manage, out of necessity!

Thankfully my husband cooks better than I do (and he works earlier and comes home earlier than I do). Sewing is something I want to learn and luckily my friends are nerds or we go out for dinner (we are a good mom and dad's night out....)
 
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