Question 2: I pretty much concur with your answer my original question until the next to last paragraph where you state  "I could not belong to a church with a female pastor." First, I'm not sure why this was relevant to the original question, but second isn't the reference in Paul's letter about a marriage relationship, not a pastoral relationship? I just read Acts 2, especially Peter's words in verse 18 "In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants —men and women alike— and they will prophesy." As Peter was an eyewitness to Jesus’ teachings, present at Pentecost and declared by Jesus to be "the rock upon which I will build my church," (and Paul was none of these things), I'll take Peter's words to mean that it is acceptable to allow women to be pastors over Paul's words which I think may have been taken out of context. Peace, brother.

(See Question 1 of this series at the following link: http://mainsailministries.org/index.php/q-a-a-god-bible-theology-culture/271-why-did-god-only-have-one-kid-and-why-did-it-have-to-be-a-boy.html)

Answer 2: Peace back at you, sister… and I’m glad that you reconnected. So let me thank you in advance for your patience with this answer, and please remember that I consider these to be secondary issues — issues between brethren — and I offer the following clarifications in the spirit of love and service... so please, do not be offended by my direct language; efficiency must trump tone — or else, it would take me weeks to get through the material!

As to the female pastor issue being relevant to the original question, you originally asked about God’s child, “And why did it have to be a boy?” How else would one address a challenge to the Redeemer’s boy-ness without addressing the issue of how it compares to girl-ness in general? And what could be a juicier girl-point for contemporary Christian readers than whether or not the Bible allows for female pastors — and that’s how we got there… and we kind of had to go there… I mean, that’s where everyone’s mind would be going whether or not we did.

As to your challenge that marriage, and not the pastorate, was Paul’s topic in Ephesians 5:22-33 (I’m assuming that you were referencing this quintessential passage), the text itself tells a different story. Now it is true that the first verse we encounter speaks to family relationships and not pastoral relationships….

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22, NIV)

.… but it is not true that this is the topic or the conclusion. In fact, the following verse, although a separate sentence grammatically, is joined to the first logically. The word “For” connects the two sentences into one fully qualified statement.

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” (Ephesians 5:23, NIV)

The following verse (24) completes this introductory statement by telling us why the wives should model subordination: it is because the Church submits to Christ… and that is what this is about.

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
(Ephesians 5:24, NIV)

Even though the three passages above are more of an introduction than they are the main text, they show in miniature that the topic is Christ’s headship over his church. But the text that follows seals the deal. Look at the conclusion of Paul’s treatise: how the marriage union really works is a profound mystery… but what he’s talking about is Christ and the Church.

““For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31–32, NIV, emphasis mine).

So, although Paul did indeed give us some useful teachings on family relationships, he used those as a springboard to make his main point: Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. Family relationships were primarily used as an analog to Paul’s point; they were not the point: we need to model Christ’s headship over his Church by maintaining male headship in the home and in the local church — that’s the point.

Women are not intrinsically inferior to men, but they are indeed symbolically inferior to men when it comes to showing the authority of Christ over the Body of Christ… and this is what is at play: male headship is the symbolic vehicle to which Christ is the symbolic tenor. When Christ returns, we will no longer need to maintain the symbolism. But until then, we are “stuck” modeling his headship over the Church by maintaining a male-only pastorate in the local churches. But did Peter disagree with Paul? Let’s examine the verse you offered.

“Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”
(Acts 2:18, NIV)

Just because women can, do and should participate fully as promised by God via several overarching statements like the one above, this does not give them warrant to participate in any particular role where the same body of work clearly restricts them… that’s just how language works. So, although Acts 2:18 tells us that both men and women will participate in the Spirit’s ministry, it does so in general terms — and here’s the principle: just because a statement lacks restrictive details, this does not mean that everything it “fails” to mention is therefore permissible. The absence of restrictions is a lack of information — it is not permission. Permission requires the addition of information.

Does the statement “…. I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” say anything about women being pastors? No. Now, it doesn’t preclude it either. So, when this type of thing happens — that is, when you need clarity where none exists — good exegesis requires that we find a clear teaching on the subject… and when it comes to male authority, we have a doozy!

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” (1 Timothy 2:11–15, NIV, emphasis mine)

Whether or not you ultimately agree with me on women pastors, you must certainly agree that Peter’s egalitarian prophecy concerning God’s Spirit was a very broad statement — so broad as to include all people. By way of comparison, Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2 clearly states that a woman cannot have a position of authority over a man. Standard exegesis says that we cannot inject non-specified information into a general piece of Scripture… but especially when it will militate against a plainly stated truth.

I find it interesting that you pitted Peter against Paul in the Scripture when one of the understandings of the Bible is that no part of it will contradict any other part of it. Now, I will not disagree that Peter had primacy in the early Church (although this is not me agreeing that he was the first Roman Catholic pope), but who had the guts to correct Peter when he needed it? Paul! Paul read Peter the riot act for skewing the gospel when he slipped back into Judaism — and do you know what that means? God let that correction stand as part of his eternal record! God placed Paul over Peter in this instance of doctrinal correction.

“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”
(Galatians 2:11–14, NIV)

Now, Peter had a few things to say about Paul, too… like maybe he can be a little hard to understand at times. But note this well: Peter taught that Paul spoke the word of God.

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:14–16, NIV, emphases mine)

Not only did Peter equate Paul’s writing with Scripture, he said that people were distorting Paul’s teachings to their own destruction… so proceed very carefully if you’re going to take-on Paul… because even your hero, Peter, knew better. Furthermore, if you prefer Peter’s words over Paul’s, how do you deal with Peter saying that Paul spoke for God? Because to disparage Paul you’d have to say that Peter was wrong about Paul’s value as God’s voice, but if you believe that Peter has the strongest words in God’s word, then you have to admit that Paul wrote the Scripture… so you have a bit of a mess going here.

Since no Scripture can contradict any other Scripture, the fact that you are looking for nonexistent problems between Peter and Paul shows an attitudinal error on your part. If you were saying that Peter was right and Paul was wrong in the Scripture, then you are directly confronting Scripture’s very plain teaching about itself — that all of it is God-breathed. We do not get to pick and choose.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”
(2 Timothy 3:16, NIV, emphasis mine).

I pray that all of this has helped more than hurt. Blessings!

(End). 

 

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