Leftover Q/A Questions

PP: We did not have nearly enough time to answer all of your questions from a few weeks back, so here are a sampling of some of them.  Please note that these are just my answers, are not at all final or all-encompassing, and do not include the sage wisdom of the Elder ODPC Pastors!  I guess you could see my answers as a glimpse into how I think, not necessarily how YOU should think.

1. What do you believe on women’s role in the church (what types of leadership/authority and when not) & what basis do your beliefs come from?

I personally do not have a problem with women in authority, and even being ordained, although my position is different from the official one of our church.  I believe this for two reasons.  First, the context in which Paul spoke against women in authority was both Grecian and Jewish, which were incredibly male dominated cultures (for example, Aristotle believed women were born when a mother breathed in deadly vapors – women were a kind of mutant).  So in light of those contexts, Paul’s understanding of women was revolutionary – it just seems backwards to us.  In fact, some scholars argue that the prominent role of women in early church history is the root of modern female equality as it was far more egalitarian than most ideologies of its time.

Even within those biblical texts that state that women should not be in authority, that word “authority” is not the same as the authority that God has – it is better translated as “domination”.  In the Greek temple context, priestesses often had dominating authority, usually through prostitution or acting as oracles.  Some scholars say that it is against THIS kind of authority that Paul argues against, not good Christian servanthood authority.  But some people don’t agree with this biblical argument, and I understand their points as well, and know that they are trying to protect the integrity of the Word.

But I’ll tell you this – it makes very little difference ultimately.  The greatest are servants, regardless of their title or their position or their gender or their race.  God loves women, and uses them mightily in almost every context around the world, and always has.  Gender has absolutely no effect on salvation.  And those who are against women in authority are still good brothers and sisters that are trying to be faithful to what they feel God’s Word says…

2. How do you discredit “evolution” by using scripture?

Haha, another example of where I really don’t fit in the mainstream conservative thought.  As a former pre-med who took genetics, orgo, and biochemistry (barely passing all three), I actually believe evolution is a divine process of creation.  Evolution is simply impossible without God – genetic drift, mutation, natural selection, all the forces that drive a scientific understanding of evolution are not enough to create the incredible abundance of biological diversity amongst us.  Even scientists are beginning to admit that this is true: http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070816_gm_evolution.html.  Evolution simply is a miracle, God divinely, miraculously, wisely, sovereignly changing our genes to make us into who we are.  The fact that this did not take a single day does not make it any less of a miracle.

The problem is that evolution initially did not have any religious undertone – Darwin NEVER intended it to disprove God, ever.  Atheists took up his idea and used it to further their own agendas, and Christians played right into that ploy by getting pissed at the idea and at Darwin.  But finally Christians are beginning to realize that atheists don’t own evolution…God does!  That’s why Catholics officially believe that evolution is a divine process, not a natural one.  If you want a book by a brilliant geneticist who has a personal relationship with God, look up Francis Collins – he’s the head of the human genome project, and a converted evangelical Christian.  Very convincing!

So in essence, I believe that God miraculously created life through evolution.  But remember that creation is not just evolution…evolution applies to biological life processes and specifically the creation of new species, which on a cosmic scale, is a microscopic event.  Keep in mind that there is an entire universe that God created and ordered from nothing, energy exploding out of a single point, being ordered into mass in the form of galaxies and solar systems, planets, and this also is the event called creation, on a scale that boggles the mind.  Evolution is a tiny portion of God’s work.

3. How relevant do you think topics not central to the Gospel (homosexuality, abortion, etc.) should be to college campus fellowships?  In what ways should these topics be addressed?

When it comes to those issues, each group has their own stance.  As far as our own church is involved, we believe homosexuality is a sin, as well as abortion; but there are churches and fellowships that do NOT adhere to this.  I think when it comes to your fellowship, it would be important for you to know the group’s official stance on these matters as you would be a representative of that group.

 As to whether it is fundamental to Christian doctrine, it isn’t, and it is.  The issue is not central to salvation in that a person can believe these things and still be saved.  However, it is a central issue in the fact that it divides people so passionately and completely, and exposes very different views on interpretation of Scripture.  So it would not be right to simply say, “this isn’t important to the Body” because it is in its consequence, if not its content…

So I think when dealing with it on a personal level, the tone of response is as important as the reasoning.  Whether in fellowship or outside of it, you should defend what you believe based on your convictions and faithfulness to Scripture.  But in tone, you should allow for differences in opinion and admit that the issue is confusing and difficult for everyone.  Just that tiny confession will really help people listen to you without digging in their heels.

When meeting people who are homosexual, you should treat them exactly the same as anyone else!  Homosexuality is a sin, but one of many – it is not worse than lying or stealing or gossiping.  I may not be willing to stop calling homosexuality as a sin, but I will not allow homosexuality to enter into a “greater sin” category that is worthy of more stringent treatment.  So if you don’t treat gossips differently from others, you shouldn’t treat homosexuals any differently either.  SIN should be stigmatized, not only homosexuality, and not sinners themselves!  If we begin to judge sinners, we won’t escape judgment unscathed either…

4. What specifically can a couple do to grow emotionally, spiritually, etc. in a dating relationship?

There are a lot of important things, and here is my laundry list:

transparency – make sure that you and your gf/bf don’t disappear into your own little world.  your relationship should be transparent to others, where other people know what you are doing and can speak truth to you and your relationship.

accountability – so important in all of our Christian lives, but especially in relationships.  seek out older brothers and sisters, as they can keep you accountable to a holy relationship, but also give you perspective on what is normal/abnormal dating behavior, and what girls like to get for gifts and what they don’t.

your personal relationship with God – couples often are too concerned with how they can grow as bf/gf, but that is of secondary importance.  you must make sure that you are right with God personally, as any kind of growth as a couple overflows from personal intimacy.

dating appropriate behavior/mentalities – often we inherit the mentalities of the world around us, which basically thinks that dating is “marriage lite”…this is not biblical nor healthy.  that is why breakups are especially devastating in the modern context, why people go completely off the deep end, because it’s like a divorce – they were way too invested in one another in a relationship that had no real commitment – in other words, acting married while dating.  dating is not the same as marriage, as there is a level of emotional and physical intimacy that should only be reserved for marriage.  if you are dating, you should not look nor act like a married couple.  this will protect your heart from emotional wounds, protect your body and holiness, and protect your future relationship (and your perception of the past).

and fyi, i know what i’m talking about when it comes to the above suggestions, as i ignored most of them and suffered terribly for it…

Ugh, that’s enough for now!  Let me know if you wanted one of your questions addressed!

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8 thoughts on “Leftover Q/A Questions

  1. As followup to Q1, is there a difference between a leader and a servant? I think a leader is also a servant but a servant is not necessarily a leader.

  2. yes, there is a difference. leadership is an individual quality that God has given people to help serve the Body. not everyone is a leader, and that’s okay.

    but everyone needs to be a servant – it is a universal calling that ultimately an imitation of Christ washing feet and dying on the cross. in this way, leaders are servants, pastors are servants, deacons are servants, parents are servants…you get the picture.

  3. Thanks for providing your answers on these questions- it was great to read. Here are a couple of my comments… (I apologize in advance for the ridiculous length of this post)

    -On women in leadership (this was my question haha- I’m trying to figure things out on this)
    First of all, I agree that gender does not affect salvation. As for your other points, I was wondering what your response would be to several counterarguments. First, you argue that we have to look at women as being prohibited for leadership as part of the patriarchal context that Paul lived in, such that it might not necessarily apply today in our egalitarian society. I’m not sure you can make this jump. Yes, women had a greater role in the church than they had in Roman society, but perhaps this was reflecting God’s true intention for women’s roles but he did not want them to go further. Thus women could pray or prophesize, as well as teach Scripture to a man privately (Priscilla with her husband teaching Apollos) but they could not teach in public or hold authority over a man. Simply because the early church gave women a bigger role under male authority, contrary to Roman culture, does not necessarily imply that in the future women could have equal positions of authority. Also, Paul doesn’t give his reasons for the position of women based on his current culture, but looks to creation (man was created first) which is a reason that should hold in all times within all cultures.

    Second, you argue that “authority” really means domineering authority. You mention that some don’t agree with this, but I was wondering what your response to them and your defense of your position would be. I assume you are referring to 1 Tim 2:12 (do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over men) in that authenteo means to misuse authority or domineer. In response to this, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood argues that there is no clear example in ancient Greek literature where authenteo means to domineer, but instead it always simply means to have authority as in a neutral manner. Grudem references a study by H. Scott Baldwin of authenteo looking at every single example of its occurrence in ancient literature, eight-two in all. In only one of these cases is it used in a negative way, as in domineering, and that wasn’t until 390 AD, long after Paul wrote 1 Timothy. Another argument that is proposed is that the grammatical structure of 1 Tim 2:12 does not support authenteo as a word to be used in the negative sense.

    Finally, although you argue that in the end it makes very little difference, others disagree with that as well. Most prominently, Wayne Grudem believes that becoming liberal on the issue of women in leadership is inviting a snowball effect leading to liberal interpretations of Scripture on many other issues. One could argue that in disregarding Scripture in this instance it opens the door to it in other circumstances. Also I’d see any theological position that could potentially lead people to go against the authority of the Bible as something that is vitally important and makes a great difference. Of course, your response to this might be that since equally intelligent, learned, and orthodox scholars come down on both sides of this issue then we could say that it doesn’t make a difference. But I still think that the implications of going against what might be Biblical authority is dire, and so one should attempt to discern the truth on this matter.

    -Great comments on evolution- I especially liked the part where you pointed out that Christians played right into atheists taking over Darwin and evolution whereas in reality evolution should be seen within the scope of God’s work in creation.

    -About homosexuality, I definitely agree with you that we shouldn’t treat homosexuals differently than others, stigmatize the sinners themselves, or demonize it as one of the worst sins. I would argue, though, that there IS some difference between homosexuality and gossip, although not in terms of the former being “worse” or “more evil.” That difference would come into play depending on someone’s perception of homosexuality. If someone is gay and says that they think it is a sin according to God’s word and while they cannot change how they feel, they can repent and try not to act upon those feelings then I would say that there is no difference between this person and a gossiper who repents of their sin, agrees that their gossip is a sin and tries to avoid gossiping. However, if someone is gay and thinks that the Bible is fine with this and it is not a sin that requires repentance, then I would say that this is wrong and is a worse position than the above case. It would be the same as a gossiper who thinks that what they do is fine and decides they will keep spreading malicious rumors. What do you think?

  4. hm, will have to parse this to properly respond…

    i have heard these arguments against that aspect of egalitarianism, especially from mr grudem, whom i respect very much. i would never assume to be near the theologian that he is. but i do have a reason for what i believe. when it comes to the biblical arguments, like you said, there are very orthodox, learned, and respected Christian theologians who land on both sides of the issue. but i think that in this particular context, throwing theology around on a forum designed to address ideas from a layperson’s perspective is generally ineffective, largely overkill. so without trying to be flip, i’m going to sidestep the theological aspect of the discussion and just say that people smarter and nicer than me believe that women can be ordained…and the opposite. i’m nobody really.

    my expression “it does not make a difference” is not an attempt to minimize the importance of the idea, but a description of the final mentality that Christians should have when discussing these ideas. yes, egalitarianism vs. complementarianism is important and should be vigorously discussed, especially in light of accurate biblical interpretation. but i have met people who simply would not fellowship with me for my view on this, meaning they would not acknowledge i was their brother in Christ. egalitarianism is not an issue of salvation, which i safeguard with my life, nor is it something that i think Jesus will rebuke either side for after he comes, as long as they tried in good faith to remain true to his word (perhaps i am wrong in this though). so i will qualify that statement: in both a soteriological and eschatalogical sense (the theological senses that i tend to fixate on), it does not make a difference. but surely there are other ways in which this issue makes a difference. my apologies for being far too general with that expression!

    personally, i am not a strict egalitarian, although i tend to lean that way. i do believe that all people are equal in status under God (more egalitarian), but that we may have separated and distinct roles in that equality (complementarian). for instance, within marriage, i do believe that God has ordained men to lead (comp). but within church, i believe that women can be ordained (egal), although not for a head pastorship (comp/egal?). my dualities mainly are the result of a less formal/more non-denominational view of ordination, that it is at its heart the corporate recognition of certain individuals and their calling to ministry. given this definition of ordination, ordination is not at its heart the establishment of authority of a person over others (namely, women OVER men), but the consecration of those individuals to serve the greatest Authority. i think it’s a calling ultimately to servanthood. this is not the typical protestant view, but it is an amalgam of my korean, catholic, protestant, charismatic, foursquare, and now presbyterian experiences.

    knowing this, perhaps it would be more fitting to argue about the proper definition of ordination, whether that action of ordination in itself establishes a hierarchy at church, or if ordination can have other functions that do not specifically relate to having authority over others. are we misintepreting the biblical sense of ordination (which is an idea with some interpretation), and that is clouding the issue of women’s ordination? hm, i think i just found you a thesis for senior year, cat!! please credit me as appropriate.

    if this is confusing to you and to everyone else, i’m sorry! i guess at heart, i believe that women have a wonderful, important, even decisive role to play in the life of the church, and always have. Jesus’ followers were women, and were given the culturally unprecedentedrole of witnesses of the resurrection. women played such a crucial role in the early church, even in Jerome’s translation of the vulgate. in my time overseas, in the absence of male leadership, women have stood up to lead the church through intense persecution, in china (where baby girls are still drowned for their gender), in africa (where africa/muslim culture have written them off as mere tools of men). have these unordained women across ages and continents had some form of authority, even if unofficial? were these occurrences unbiblical and not glorifying to God? yes, no…maybe? admittedly, the issue is difficult, but in the end, praise God that he uses us all, women and men from all races, to participate in his work.

  5. hm, i’ll agree with you to a point, that someone who justifies homosexuality is worse than someone who admits/repents of gossip. but i think you are falling into a trap of entrenched thinking as revealed through semantics – let me explain. you say there is a difference between gossip and homosexuality because of the ways people interpret their actions…but this does not establish a difference between the sins instrinsically, but between the people who make those interpretations.

    so i think what you are really saying is that there is a difference between a person who admits a sin and tries to avoid it, and one that justifies that sin as being fine. you see, the difference is in the admission/justification, not in the type of sin itself. after all, many Christians justify premarital sexual relationships in exactly the same way, don’t they? but for some reason, Christians typically fixate on homosexuality as the sole benchmark of how people deal with sin, and this is in itself giving that sin its own category, “the benchmark admission/justification sin”. there is no such thing – there is sin, and we can either confess or justify it. i don’t think that homosexuality should be the first and only sin by which we measure our desire to be holy.

    to be quite honest, as Christians, homosexuality is not the biggest threat to our consecrecation. we should clean our house more thoroughly before asking others to clean theirs.

  6. Just one comment I’d like to make on something you said. You say that you believe all are equal in status under God and define that as egalitarian. While there are some crazy thinkers out there who don’t believe this, most complementarians do believe that men and women are equal under God, they simply think they have distinct roles. So I wouldn’t call promoting the idea that women and men are equal in status under God a purely egalitarian perspective.

    Your ordination idea is interesting, but if one think the Bible states that men have authority over women, that this is their state by nature, and women shouldn’t teach in a public worship context then I’d say that applies to many situations and trumps the ordination question.

    In response to what you wrote back on homosexuality I’d agree that the difference is solely if one justifies a sin. But I think (and I credit Jeff with helping articulate this idea more clearly) that the difference is that overt homosexuality is regularly justified in our culture, whereas overt gossip or lying is not. The latter are usually sins that people do but feel guilty about and repent, whereas there is a growing movement within America and within Christianity to dismiss the charge that homosexuality is a sin. Also, usually when someone says “homosexuality is no worse a sin than gossip” they are speaking of those who see no problem with homosexuality, not those who struggle with it and repent. In that case they’d be comparing apples with oranges. I’m not sure any of this made sense haha.

  7. actually, the complementerian mentality has more logical inconsistencies in terms of equality than egalitarianism does. the egalitarian mindset is that of brown v. board of education, where separate and equal is inherently a type of inequality. strict equality is the abolition of any kind of barrier between two groups, where if two people are equal, they can be afforded the same opportunities. this is equality in its very strictest sense. it is complementarians that try to hold a more tenuous middle ground of equal, but distinct and separated (and more authoritative).

    ah, but ordination doesn’t always apply to public teaching, and doesn’t always involve women having authority over men. there are ordained children’s pastors, women commissioned by the church to be missionaries, some ordained to be teaching pastors in smaller settings, women’s issues pastors, and many other ordained people who skirt a very grey line between authority and service.

    in addition, saying that all men have rote authority over all women is painting with a 2×4 when it is a far more precise and complicated idea. for instance, much of that idea is derived from genesis, where a woman is called to be a helper to the man, or the hebrew word ezer…thing is, that word is also used to describe how God helps us, as in Ebenezer and Eliezer, not submission. and how about women who led Israel, like deborah, or prophetesses of the NT? authority is obviously a multi faceted idea and cannot be wielded so indelicately.

    i understand the sense that there is a movement to strike homosexuality off as a sin, and i’m not in agreement with that movement. but i would say a few things: in terms of people justifying sins, homosexuality is not the only one that is justified by culture or Christians. perhaps it is the one that is most popularly and overtly justified, but EVERYONE justifies their sin (even/especially me), just usually in their minds and behind closed doors. they lash out at someone and say, the guy deserved it because of this or that. that is a type of justification, although it didn’t happen in the public forum. so the constant justification idea is not limited at all to homosexuality, but again, is a part of sin itself.

    also, i would resist the temptation to allow other people to dictate your response to sin. yes, perhaps the popular culture seems to fixate on homosexuality, so the issue seems more pressing and urgent – perhaps it is in a way. but so is inequality, and premarital sex, and gossip, and all other sins, most of which are far more regularly practiced in the Body. Christians have allowed the issue of homosexuality to loom so large that it casts a shadow on all other things. the DEBATE on homosexuality may be more public and rancorous, but this has not changed the nature of sin – it is universal, it is pervasive, and it begins on our own doorsteps.

    lastly, when someone says homosexuality is no worse a sin than gossip, you shouldn’t see it as a comfort to those who support homosexuality. it is a condemnation of homosexuality and gossip and all other sin at the same time. calling something a sin is the worse we can do to it, and should never be reinterpreted as a type of encouragement, even if the words no worse are used at the same time. just goes to show that we have become hypersensitive to the word HOMOSEXUALITY, and nearly blind the word SIN.

  8. I don’t think you can compare to Brown vs Board, as its application is more to separate places- in separate schooling institutions.
    also the place where i first heard about ezer was ironically the complimentarian book ‘capitvating’.
    interesting points on ordination and yes there is a fine line between what woman can and can’t do that i think is tricky to navigate.

Comments are closed.

Leftover Q/A Questions

PP: We did not have nearly enough time to answer all of your questions from a few weeks back, so here are a sampling of some of them.  Please note that these are just my answers, are not at all final or all-encompassing, and do not include the sage wisdom of the Elder ODPC Pastors!  I guess you could see my answers as a glimpse into how I think, not necessarily how YOU should think.

1. What do you believe on women’s role in the church (what types of leadership/authority and when not) & what basis do your beliefs come from?

I personally do not have a problem with women in authority, and even being ordained, although my position is different from the official one of our church.  I believe this for two reasons.  First, the context in which Paul spoke against women in authority was both Grecian and Jewish, which were incredibly male dominated cultures (for example, Aristotle believed women were born when a mother breathed in deadly vapors – women were a kind of mutant).  So in light of those contexts, Paul’s understanding of women was revolutionary – it just seems backwards to us.  In fact, some scholars argue that the prominent role of women in early church history is the root of modern female equality as it was far more egalitarian than most ideologies of its time.

Even within those biblical texts that state that women should not be in authority, that word “authority” is not the same as the authority that God has – it is better translated as “domination”.  In the Greek temple context, priestesses often had dominating authority, usually through prostitution or acting as oracles.  Some scholars say that it is against THIS kind of authority that Paul argues against, not good Christian servanthood authority.  But some people don’t agree with this biblical argument, and I understand their points as well, and know that they are trying to protect the integrity of the Word.

But I’ll tell you this – it makes very little difference ultimately.  The greatest are servants, regardless of their title or their position or their gender or their race.  God loves women, and uses them mightily in almost every context around the world, and always has.  Gender has absolutely no effect on salvation.  And those who are against women in authority are still good brothers and sisters that are trying to be faithful to what they feel God’s Word says…

2. How do you discredit “evolution” by using scripture?

Haha, another example of where I really don’t fit in the mainstream conservative thought.  As a former pre-med who took genetics, orgo, and biochemistry (barely passing all three), I actually believe evolution is a divine process of creation.  Evolution is simply impossible without God – genetic drift, mutation, natural selection, all the forces that drive a scientific understanding of evolution are not enough to create the incredible abundance of biological diversity amongst us.  Even scientists are beginning to admit that this is true: http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070816_gm_evolution.html.  Evolution simply is a miracle, God divinely, miraculously, wisely, sovereignly changing our genes to make us into who we are.  The fact that this did not take a single day does not make it any less of a miracle.

The problem is that evolution initially did not have any religious undertone – Darwin NEVER intended it to disprove God, ever.  Atheists took up his idea and used it to further their own agendas, and Christians played right into that ploy by getting pissed at the idea and at Darwin.  But finally Christians are beginning to realize that atheists don’t own evolution…God does!  That’s why Catholics officially believe that evolution is a divine process, not a natural one.  If you want a book by a brilliant geneticist who has a personal relationship with God, look up Francis Collins – he’s the head of the human genome project, and a converted evangelical Christian.  Very convincing!

So in essence, I believe that God miraculously created life through evolution.  But remember that creation is not just evolution…evolution applies to biological life processes and specifically the creation of new species, which on a cosmic scale, is a microscopic event.  Keep in mind that there is an entire universe that God created and ordered from nothing, energy exploding out of a single point, being ordered into mass in the form of galaxies and solar systems, planets, and this also is the event called creation, on a scale that boggles the mind.  Evolution is a tiny portion of God’s work.

3. How relevant do you think topics not central to the Gospel (homosexuality, abortion, etc.) should be to college campus fellowships?  In what ways should these topics be addressed?

When it comes to those issues, each group has their own stance.  As far as our own church is involved, we believe homosexuality is a sin, as well as abortion; but there are churches and fellowships that do NOT adhere to this.  I think when it comes to your fellowship, it would be important for you to know the group’s official stance on these matters as you would be a representative of that group.

 As to whether it is fundamental to Christian doctrine, it isn’t, and it is.  The issue is not central to salvation in that a person can believe these things and still be saved.  However, it is a central issue in the fact that it divides people so passionately and completely, and exposes very different views on interpretation of Scripture.  So it would not be right to simply say, “this isn’t important to the Body” because it is in its consequence, if not its content…

So I think when dealing with it on a personal level, the tone of response is as important as the reasoning.  Whether in fellowship or outside of it, you should defend what you believe based on your convictions and faithfulness to Scripture.  But in tone, you should allow for differences in opinion and admit that the issue is confusing and difficult for everyone.  Just that tiny confession will really help people listen to you without digging in their heels.

When meeting people who are homosexual, you should treat them exactly the same as anyone else!  Homosexuality is a sin, but one of many – it is not worse than lying or stealing or gossiping.  I may not be willing to stop calling homosexuality as a sin, but I will not allow homosexuality to enter into a “greater sin” category that is worthy of more stringent treatment.  So if you don’t treat gossips differently from others, you shouldn’t treat homosexuals any differently either.  SIN should be stigmatized, not only homosexuality, and not sinners themselves!  If we begin to judge sinners, we won’t escape judgment unscathed either…

4. What specifically can a couple do to grow emotionally, spiritually, etc. in a dating relationship?

There are a lot of important things, and here is my laundry list:

transparency – make sure that you and your gf/bf don’t disappear into your own little world.  your relationship should be transparent to others, where other people know what you are doing and can speak truth to you and your relationship.

accountability – so important in all of our Christian lives, but especially in relationships.  seek out older brothers and sisters, as they can keep you accountable to a holy relationship, but also give you perspective on what is normal/abnormal dating behavior, and what girls like to get for gifts and what they don’t.

your personal relationship with God – couples often are too concerned with how they can grow as bf/gf, but that is of secondary importance.  you must make sure that you are right with God personally, as any kind of growth as a couple overflows from personal intimacy.

dating appropriate behavior/mentalities – often we inherit the mentalities of the world around us, which basically thinks that dating is “marriage lite”…this is not biblical nor healthy.  that is why breakups are especially devastating in the modern context, why people go completely off the deep end, because it’s like a divorce – they were way too invested in one another in a relationship that had no real commitment – in other words, acting married while dating.  dating is not the same as marriage, as there is a level of emotional and physical intimacy that should only be reserved for marriage.  if you are dating, you should not look nor act like a married couple.  this will protect your heart from emotional wounds, protect your body and holiness, and protect your future relationship (and your perception of the past).

and fyi, i know what i’m talking about when it comes to the above suggestions, as i ignored most of them and suffered terribly for it…

Ugh, that’s enough for now!  Let me know if you wanted one of your questions addressed!

8 thoughts on “Leftover Q/A Questions

  1. As followup to Q1, is there a difference between a leader and a servant? I think a leader is also a servant but a servant is not necessarily a leader.

  2. yes, there is a difference. leadership is an individual quality that God has given people to help serve the Body. not everyone is a leader, and that’s okay.

    but everyone needs to be a servant – it is a universal calling that ultimately an imitation of Christ washing feet and dying on the cross. in this way, leaders are servants, pastors are servants, deacons are servants, parents are servants…you get the picture.

  3. Thanks for providing your answers on these questions- it was great to read. Here are a couple of my comments… (I apologize in advance for the ridiculous length of this post)

    -On women in leadership (this was my question haha- I’m trying to figure things out on this)
    First of all, I agree that gender does not affect salvation. As for your other points, I was wondering what your response would be to several counterarguments. First, you argue that we have to look at women as being prohibited for leadership as part of the patriarchal context that Paul lived in, such that it might not necessarily apply today in our egalitarian society. I’m not sure you can make this jump. Yes, women had a greater role in the church than they had in Roman society, but perhaps this was reflecting God’s true intention for women’s roles but he did not want them to go further. Thus women could pray or prophesize, as well as teach Scripture to a man privately (Priscilla with her husband teaching Apollos) but they could not teach in public or hold authority over a man. Simply because the early church gave women a bigger role under male authority, contrary to Roman culture, does not necessarily imply that in the future women could have equal positions of authority. Also, Paul doesn’t give his reasons for the position of women based on his current culture, but looks to creation (man was created first) which is a reason that should hold in all times within all cultures.

    Second, you argue that “authority” really means domineering authority. You mention that some don’t agree with this, but I was wondering what your response to them and your defense of your position would be. I assume you are referring to 1 Tim 2:12 (do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over men) in that authenteo means to misuse authority or domineer. In response to this, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood argues that there is no clear example in ancient Greek literature where authenteo means to domineer, but instead it always simply means to have authority as in a neutral manner. Grudem references a study by H. Scott Baldwin of authenteo looking at every single example of its occurrence in ancient literature, eight-two in all. In only one of these cases is it used in a negative way, as in domineering, and that wasn’t until 390 AD, long after Paul wrote 1 Timothy. Another argument that is proposed is that the grammatical structure of 1 Tim 2:12 does not support authenteo as a word to be used in the negative sense.

    Finally, although you argue that in the end it makes very little difference, others disagree with that as well. Most prominently, Wayne Grudem believes that becoming liberal on the issue of women in leadership is inviting a snowball effect leading to liberal interpretations of Scripture on many other issues. One could argue that in disregarding Scripture in this instance it opens the door to it in other circumstances. Also I’d see any theological position that could potentially lead people to go against the authority of the Bible as something that is vitally important and makes a great difference. Of course, your response to this might be that since equally intelligent, learned, and orthodox scholars come down on both sides of this issue then we could say that it doesn’t make a difference. But I still think that the implications of going against what might be Biblical authority is dire, and so one should attempt to discern the truth on this matter.

    -Great comments on evolution- I especially liked the part where you pointed out that Christians played right into atheists taking over Darwin and evolution whereas in reality evolution should be seen within the scope of God’s work in creation.

    -About homosexuality, I definitely agree with you that we shouldn’t treat homosexuals differently than others, stigmatize the sinners themselves, or demonize it as one of the worst sins. I would argue, though, that there IS some difference between homosexuality and gossip, although not in terms of the former being “worse” or “more evil.” That difference would come into play depending on someone’s perception of homosexuality. If someone is gay and says that they think it is a sin according to God’s word and while they cannot change how they feel, they can repent and try not to act upon those feelings then I would say that there is no difference between this person and a gossiper who repents of their sin, agrees that their gossip is a sin and tries to avoid gossiping. However, if someone is gay and thinks that the Bible is fine with this and it is not a sin that requires repentance, then I would say that this is wrong and is a worse position than the above case. It would be the same as a gossiper who thinks that what they do is fine and decides they will keep spreading malicious rumors. What do you think?

  4. hm, will have to parse this to properly respond…

    i have heard these arguments against that aspect of egalitarianism, especially from mr grudem, whom i respect very much. i would never assume to be near the theologian that he is. but i do have a reason for what i believe. when it comes to the biblical arguments, like you said, there are very orthodox, learned, and respected Christian theologians who land on both sides of the issue. but i think that in this particular context, throwing theology around on a forum designed to address ideas from a layperson’s perspective is generally ineffective, largely overkill. so without trying to be flip, i’m going to sidestep the theological aspect of the discussion and just say that people smarter and nicer than me believe that women can be ordained…and the opposite. i’m nobody really.

    my expression “it does not make a difference” is not an attempt to minimize the importance of the idea, but a description of the final mentality that Christians should have when discussing these ideas. yes, egalitarianism vs. complementarianism is important and should be vigorously discussed, especially in light of accurate biblical interpretation. but i have met people who simply would not fellowship with me for my view on this, meaning they would not acknowledge i was their brother in Christ. egalitarianism is not an issue of salvation, which i safeguard with my life, nor is it something that i think Jesus will rebuke either side for after he comes, as long as they tried in good faith to remain true to his word (perhaps i am wrong in this though). so i will qualify that statement: in both a soteriological and eschatalogical sense (the theological senses that i tend to fixate on), it does not make a difference. but surely there are other ways in which this issue makes a difference. my apologies for being far too general with that expression!

    personally, i am not a strict egalitarian, although i tend to lean that way. i do believe that all people are equal in status under God (more egalitarian), but that we may have separated and distinct roles in that equality (complementarian). for instance, within marriage, i do believe that God has ordained men to lead (comp). but within church, i believe that women can be ordained (egal), although not for a head pastorship (comp/egal?). my dualities mainly are the result of a less formal/more non-denominational view of ordination, that it is at its heart the corporate recognition of certain individuals and their calling to ministry. given this definition of ordination, ordination is not at its heart the establishment of authority of a person over others (namely, women OVER men), but the consecration of those individuals to serve the greatest Authority. i think it’s a calling ultimately to servanthood. this is not the typical protestant view, but it is an amalgam of my korean, catholic, protestant, charismatic, foursquare, and now presbyterian experiences.

    knowing this, perhaps it would be more fitting to argue about the proper definition of ordination, whether that action of ordination in itself establishes a hierarchy at church, or if ordination can have other functions that do not specifically relate to having authority over others. are we misintepreting the biblical sense of ordination (which is an idea with some interpretation), and that is clouding the issue of women’s ordination? hm, i think i just found you a thesis for senior year, cat!! please credit me as appropriate.

    if this is confusing to you and to everyone else, i’m sorry! i guess at heart, i believe that women have a wonderful, important, even decisive role to play in the life of the church, and always have. Jesus’ followers were women, and were given the culturally unprecedentedrole of witnesses of the resurrection. women played such a crucial role in the early church, even in Jerome’s translation of the vulgate. in my time overseas, in the absence of male leadership, women have stood up to lead the church through intense persecution, in china (where baby girls are still drowned for their gender), in africa (where africa/muslim culture have written them off as mere tools of men). have these unordained women across ages and continents had some form of authority, even if unofficial? were these occurrences unbiblical and not glorifying to God? yes, no…maybe? admittedly, the issue is difficult, but in the end, praise God that he uses us all, women and men from all races, to participate in his work.

  5. hm, i’ll agree with you to a point, that someone who justifies homosexuality is worse than someone who admits/repents of gossip. but i think you are falling into a trap of entrenched thinking as revealed through semantics – let me explain. you say there is a difference between gossip and homosexuality because of the ways people interpret their actions…but this does not establish a difference between the sins instrinsically, but between the people who make those interpretations.

    so i think what you are really saying is that there is a difference between a person who admits a sin and tries to avoid it, and one that justifies that sin as being fine. you see, the difference is in the admission/justification, not in the type of sin itself. after all, many Christians justify premarital sexual relationships in exactly the same way, don’t they? but for some reason, Christians typically fixate on homosexuality as the sole benchmark of how people deal with sin, and this is in itself giving that sin its own category, “the benchmark admission/justification sin”. there is no such thing – there is sin, and we can either confess or justify it. i don’t think that homosexuality should be the first and only sin by which we measure our desire to be holy.

    to be quite honest, as Christians, homosexuality is not the biggest threat to our consecrecation. we should clean our house more thoroughly before asking others to clean theirs.

  6. Just one comment I’d like to make on something you said. You say that you believe all are equal in status under God and define that as egalitarian. While there are some crazy thinkers out there who don’t believe this, most complementarians do believe that men and women are equal under God, they simply think they have distinct roles. So I wouldn’t call promoting the idea that women and men are equal in status under God a purely egalitarian perspective.

    Your ordination idea is interesting, but if one think the Bible states that men have authority over women, that this is their state by nature, and women shouldn’t teach in a public worship context then I’d say that applies to many situations and trumps the ordination question.

    In response to what you wrote back on homosexuality I’d agree that the difference is solely if one justifies a sin. But I think (and I credit Jeff with helping articulate this idea more clearly) that the difference is that overt homosexuality is regularly justified in our culture, whereas overt gossip or lying is not. The latter are usually sins that people do but feel guilty about and repent, whereas there is a growing movement within America and within Christianity to dismiss the charge that homosexuality is a sin. Also, usually when someone says “homosexuality is no worse a sin than gossip” they are speaking of those who see no problem with homosexuality, not those who struggle with it and repent. In that case they’d be comparing apples with oranges. I’m not sure any of this made sense haha.

  7. actually, the complementerian mentality has more logical inconsistencies in terms of equality than egalitarianism does. the egalitarian mindset is that of brown v. board of education, where separate and equal is inherently a type of inequality. strict equality is the abolition of any kind of barrier between two groups, where if two people are equal, they can be afforded the same opportunities. this is equality in its very strictest sense. it is complementarians that try to hold a more tenuous middle ground of equal, but distinct and separated (and more authoritative).

    ah, but ordination doesn’t always apply to public teaching, and doesn’t always involve women having authority over men. there are ordained children’s pastors, women commissioned by the church to be missionaries, some ordained to be teaching pastors in smaller settings, women’s issues pastors, and many other ordained people who skirt a very grey line between authority and service.

    in addition, saying that all men have rote authority over all women is painting with a 2×4 when it is a far more precise and complicated idea. for instance, much of that idea is derived from genesis, where a woman is called to be a helper to the man, or the hebrew word ezer…thing is, that word is also used to describe how God helps us, as in Ebenezer and Eliezer, not submission. and how about women who led Israel, like deborah, or prophetesses of the NT? authority is obviously a multi faceted idea and cannot be wielded so indelicately.

    i understand the sense that there is a movement to strike homosexuality off as a sin, and i’m not in agreement with that movement. but i would say a few things: in terms of people justifying sins, homosexuality is not the only one that is justified by culture or Christians. perhaps it is the one that is most popularly and overtly justified, but EVERYONE justifies their sin (even/especially me), just usually in their minds and behind closed doors. they lash out at someone and say, the guy deserved it because of this or that. that is a type of justification, although it didn’t happen in the public forum. so the constant justification idea is not limited at all to homosexuality, but again, is a part of sin itself.

    also, i would resist the temptation to allow other people to dictate your response to sin. yes, perhaps the popular culture seems to fixate on homosexuality, so the issue seems more pressing and urgent – perhaps it is in a way. but so is inequality, and premarital sex, and gossip, and all other sins, most of which are far more regularly practiced in the Body. Christians have allowed the issue of homosexuality to loom so large that it casts a shadow on all other things. the DEBATE on homosexuality may be more public and rancorous, but this has not changed the nature of sin – it is universal, it is pervasive, and it begins on our own doorsteps.

    lastly, when someone says homosexuality is no worse a sin than gossip, you shouldn’t see it as a comfort to those who support homosexuality. it is a condemnation of homosexuality and gossip and all other sin at the same time. calling something a sin is the worse we can do to it, and should never be reinterpreted as a type of encouragement, even if the words no worse are used at the same time. just goes to show that we have become hypersensitive to the word HOMOSEXUALITY, and nearly blind the word SIN.

  8. I don’t think you can compare to Brown vs Board, as its application is more to separate places- in separate schooling institutions.
    also the place where i first heard about ezer was ironically the complimentarian book ‘capitvating’.
    interesting points on ordination and yes there is a fine line between what woman can and can’t do that i think is tricky to navigate.

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