Now that the church incident has passed and my wife and I have somewhat made up (I told her we couldn’t continue walking around ignoring each other and we HAD to come to terms, but I made it clear to her that I still felt her disobedience was wrong. It hasn’t made much difference, as expected) I have decided to go a little more in-depth on my view of women teaching scripture AT ALL, as in to men or women or kids. Now, at the moment I am still in much prayer regarding this issue, but I find my point of view shifting and I will explain where it is shifting to and why.
So for those of you not in the know the issue I had with the pastor at my church was his assertion that men who will not accept biblical teaching from women are “Pharisees and spiritually dead”, as well as his warning that because women DO accept teaching from other women men “don’t be surprised when your wife surpasses you in spiritual knowledge and stops being submissive”. Along with these statements was the assertion that the apostle Paul’s words regarding women being silent in the church could be ignored because the command was only cultural and didn’t apply to any other church than the church at Corinth, nor did it apply in todays culture.
Now what I have always understood is that women should not be teaching at the pulpit, and this, to me, is in accordance with Paul’s prohibition on women teaching or having authority over men. In reading the verses I see TWO statements by Paul.
- “…I do not permit a woman to teach…”
- “…or to have authority over a man.”
Now some people have said that this verse (v.12) is a single statement forbidding women to teach men, as the mantle of teacher automatically assumes a position of authority. Some people do not believe this, I have found. Some people think its fine for a woman to get up and preach from the pulpit provided it is not long term and, thus, does not imbue authority. This, however, is not my view on the subject. To me (and to many others) a position of teacher automatically imbues a person with authority over the ones being taught. I cannot think of a single instance where this would not be the case.
A recent post by Dalrock at his own blog has indicated that, even when studied down to the sentence structure of the original Greek the verse is two separate commandments: one prohibiting women from teaching and one prohibiting women from having authority over men.
Now, up until now I have considered this prohibition to mean ONLY women teaching from the pulpit, and ONLY women teaching men, but I have to admit that I am swinging more towards the idea that this statement prohibits women from teaching scripture AT ALL. That means not to other women, not to children – to no one. Let me make it clear, however, that SHARING scripture is not the same as TEACHING scripture. How does that work? Well, a Christian woman can share a scripture with another Christian woman and, if she does not understand, she can ask her Christian husband, as is prescribed in the bible. If scripture is shared with a non-believer then I believe a simple explanation can be delivered, but hard-core biblical exposition should be left to the men.
Now, I have reached this conclusion after a few different inputs from the bible along with other scientific sources. Allow me to go over each one in some, but not great detail (as we could be here a really long time). I leave it to you to do some research on your own and come to your own conclusion.
1. In group bias in women
I have spoken about in-group bias before here. In-group bias is the tendency of a specialized group within a whole to favor the group over everyone else. For example, if you have a particular race of people in a large company and that group does things within the company to benefit everyone of that race. Studies have show that women suffer from in-group bias on a significantly larger scale than men do, which becomes extremely obvious when you start seeing women making odd decisions in order to protect “team woman”. As I have previously stated, the bible is a patriarchal book and even Christian women become easily offended at its words. Since the rise of the women’s empowerment movement (feminism) the words of the bible and the understanding of scripture has been mangled by both men and women in an attempt to equalize the sexes, elevating women to the point of turning them into a doorway for men to Christ and pushing men down into the position of a servant-leader – ie: someone with authority, but with no authority to use it. When women teach women scripture it becomes easy to tweak the meanings and words so as to protect team woman. After all, Christian women know the bible calls on them to “…submit to their own husbands, as to the Lord.“, but what if a husband asks his wife to do something awful like have oral sex or rob a bank or kill someone? Team woman must be protected and, thus, qualifiers and stipulations are added to the commandment that are not present in the text. Sure a list of “reasons not to submit” might sound good when they include such things as “kill a prostitute, get high on cocaine, if he loses his mind”, but over time other things will be added until the list turns into “anything that I don’t feel like doing at the moment”. It has been said on several sites that women teachers often teach reasons NOT to submit to their husbands, rather than teach to actually submit.
2. Contextual morality in women
Contextual morality is anathema to the Christian faith. Rather than knowing what God hates and then hating those things as well (in a spiritual sense) actions that are forbidden in scripture are suddenly reviewed and judged based on the situation in which they were committed. Women judge morality contextually while men tend to judge morality universally, meaning men have a focal point from which they judge morality which does not often change. Women, on the other hand, will judge something that should be morally reprehensible as “okay” if the situation calls for it. This is one of the reasons why the abortion racket in the U.S. is so widely accepted even by Christian women. They contextualize the morality of the subject by thinking “Well what if it was ME in the situation, or my daughter!”, or “Well better that than the child be raised unloved and going through the system.”, the moral offense of the subject becomes moral putty to be shaped into whatever fits the current context of the situation is. When this contextual morality is applied to the church as a whole we find the church itself, men included, start to take on the same contextual view!
In teaching this means that women, unless very firmly grounded in the word, will start to teach the same contextual morality, leading everyone astray.
These two scientific pieces of information, based on research data, confirm to me all the more that God knew what he was doing when He prohibited women from teaching scripture. He even wrote about it in the word! Leading to…..
3. Words of the bible
As I said earlier, the bible is a patriarchal book, and Christianity is a patriarchal venture. There is no “mother God” (despite what the people at the Walmart told me), Jesus did not select ANY women as His disciples and, really, there aren’t any plain scriptures that indicate ANY women acted as a teacher, even after Jesus’s death. None in any official capacity that I can see, though the apostle Paul refers to some women of the church in his letters, you would be hard pressed to find that one is actually called ‘teacher’.
God esteems men before women. This is not to say that He believes men are better than women, but scripture indicates that God has placed men in authority over their wives FOR SEVERAL REASONS:
- The Curse
- Man is the image and glory of God
- Woman was created FROM man
- Woman was created FOR man
- Man was formed first
- The woman was first deceived
This should surprise no one, as God esteems the nation of Israel before all the other nations of the world. This does not mean that the Jewish people are any better than others. They are just as wicked as the rest of us, they sin just like the rest of us and they need the redeeming blood of Christ just like the rest of us, but God esteems them because of His covenant with Abraham. They are His chosen people.
In the same manner men are esteemed before women and scripture backs this up.
There are no commandments in scripture for women to be teachers of scripture. The verses in Titus command older women to teach younger women:
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
To me this says two things:
- Teaching things from Titus to younger women = A-OKAY
- Teaching scripture to other women = questionable at best.
The fact that there is even a discussion going on about whether or not women can teach scripture should be enough to cause us to stop. Why is there a discussion? Because nowhere in the bible does it specifically say women CAN teach scripture to anyone, though a straight reading of the word specifically shows a prohibition AGAINST women teaching anything except what is listed in Titus 2.
Now I have had several people tell me that in biblical times women were not even allowed to handle the holy books, much less read them and interpret their meaning. If this is the case then nowhere in the bible does it indicate that the practice needed to change! Someone pointed out in the comments of a blog post (I paraphrase from memory) “Where is the go-grrrl moment in the scripture? Where are the verses encouraging women to break out of their shell and to stop letting men have all the glory and prestige? Where does Jesus put out the call for young ladies to pick up their cross, leave their families behind and go preach the gospel! Jesus told his disciples – a group of 12 men – to be fishers of men. Certainly a woman sharing the gospel with another woman seems to be fine, but a woman leading a ministry of any sort is not addressed.
4. Gullibility and herd mentality in women
Lastly I point to these two particular issues that plague women more than men. Women are more gullible than men, falling for fake news stories and generated hype about the hottest stars – there’s a reason tabloid magazines do so well with women. Women don’t just fall for this stuff, they LIKE to fall for this stuff. Women are powered by drama, and gullibility generates drama. The fact that women are more gullible than men is not new and has been well documented since biblical times:
1 Timothy 2:
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
In addition to gullibility is the natural herd mentality of women that prevents them from speaking up when things don’t look or sound right, particularly when other women in the area are all playing along. Women who catch on that things don’t add up aren’t likely to speak up and challenge the problem, leaving other gullible women believing in lies. Take, for example, the teaching by popular “pastor” Priscilla Shearer in which she encourages women to draw or create circles in which they can stand and pray. Drawing circles is an ancient arcane art used in the practice of magick, spellcraft and the occult, and is nowhere present in the bible, yet her website features pictures take from Twitter of women creating “prayer circles” out of objects or drawing them on the ground.
Or how about both Shearers and Beth Moore’s contemplative prayer, a practice more in line with Eastern meditation than with the guide Jesus gave us:
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Jesus prayed many, many times and in not a single spot did He draw a circle or engage in contemplative prayer, yet these “new ways” are being taught to thousands, if not millions of women!
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
A somewhat long post, but these things, this….evidence, is leading me to believe that women are, indeed, stricken from teaching the scriptures to ANYONE – women, children, men, dogs, cats, bandicoots. I just don’t see how it can be justified except by those who have invested very little time in researching the subject, but call the prohibition against it by the apostle Paul “sexist” or “misogynistic” because our modern day culture makes such a prohibition uncomfortable to enforce.
Though I will continue to spend some time in deep prayer about this subject, I am starting to turn away from the accepted norm that women can be teachers of women. This leads to far too many problems. In my own life I find myself at odds with my wife as, many times, I will explain something scriptural to her only to have her counter it with something she heard from a woman teacher, or with her own belief that has been shaped by women teachers. This lack of unity would be eliminated if she were following the words of the bible that instruct wives to ask their husbands for clarification on scripture.
I understand that not every woman suffers from all of these issues, but I would bet that 99.99999999999999% of them suffer from all or one of these issues. I know that I cannot change how other men or women feel about the subject, but I can certainly can, and likely will, change how I feel about it, and will instruct my wife and children in like manner.
And I will continue to say, for all to hear, that modern day Christians cannot suffer to hear and believe the words of the bible without applying their own filters and buffers to make them easier to follow. They may be easier to follow, but that doesn’t make them right.