Psalm 78:69 says something amazing about Israel’s Temple: God “built the sanctuary like the heights, [He built the sanctuary] like the earth which he has founded forever.” this tells us that in some way God modeled the Temple to be a little replica of the entire heaven and earth. Yet, in Is. 66:1 God says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for me?” God never intended that Israel’s little localized temple last forever, since, like the Eden temple, Israel’s temple was a small model of something much bigger: God and His universal presence, which could never eternally be contained by any localized earthly structure.
Israel’s tabernacle and temple were a miniature model of God’s huge cosmic temple that was to dominate the heaven and earth at the end of time. That is, the temple was a symbolic model pointing not merely to the present cosmos but also to the new heaven and earth that would be perfectly filled with God’s presence. That it was a miniature symbolic model of the coming Temple that would fill heavens and earth is evident from the following figurative features of the three sections of the temple: the holy of holies, the holy place, and the outer courtyard.
G. K. Beale
I’ve heard a lot of these arguments from patriarchalists, and I’ve still concluded that egalitarianism is the way to go. A sharp eye to culture and language is key to understanding Paul, and Jesus’ treatment of women was always inclusive and equalizing.
Is that why Jesus chose 12 male disciples?
Secondly, Are we to believe that for the last 500 years the Reformed Church has failed at having a sharp eye for language and culture and only now are we being brought into the promised land of the Egalitarian hermeneutic?
Thirdly, the 5th commandment forbids all egalitarian readings of Scripture. The Scriptures at every turn are opposed to egalitarianism.
For example, the Westminster Confession of Faith clearly eschews egalitarianism as seen it is treatment of the 5th commandment with all its languages about inferiors and superiors.
Question 126: What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
Answer: The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.
Question 127: What is the honor that inferiors owe to their superiors.?
Answer: The honor which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart, word, and behavior; prayer and thanksgiving for them; imitation of their virtues and graces; willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels; due submission to their corrections; fidelity to, defense and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places; bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love, that so they may be an honor to them and to their government.
Question 128: What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
Answer: The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against, their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.
Note — What else could we conclude but that the Westminster Divines would have seen feminism as a sin since feminists, like the one we are dealing with here, rebel against the person and places of their Covenant Head husbands?
Question 129: What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
Answer: It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God has put upon them.
Question 130: What are the sins of superiors?
Answer: The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.
Question 131: What are the duties of equals?
Answer: The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each other’s gifts and advancement, as their own.
Question 132: What are the sins of equals?
Answer: The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required, the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one over another.
Clearly, the Scriptures are diametrically opposed to the strictures of egalitarianism.
He also appeared to women first in a culture in which they were not considered court-worthy witnesses. Paul also mentions many women he refers to as partners with him in his work, including Priscilla, who took a man aside and taught him to be a better teacher.
No … actually it was both Priscilla and Aquila who took Apollos aside. You failed to mention Priscilla’s male covenant head. Second the fact that Jesus and Paul have women as supporters (though clearly not leaders) in the ministry only reveals that Christianity is not, unlike feminism, misogynist.
Secondly, if one follows the narrative of the Bible one is not surprised that Jesus appears first to women after the resurrection just as the angels appeared first to Shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. In both cases those who were first engaged were not court-worthy witnesses. So, in light of the fact that the Shepherds and women have in common this low ranking on the scale of the social order we must conclude that the purpose of this is not tied to sexuality (after all the Shepherds were male) but rather it is tied to a theme that we find throughout Scripture and that is God uses the weak to confound the wise. However, that God uses the weak (shepherds and women) to confound the wise in the Scripture cannot be used as a proof that women should be leadership roles. Also we need to keep in mind that the descriptive accounts in historical narrative are not necessarily prescriptive. It is a strange way to argue that because Jesus appeared to women after the resurrection, as presented in a historical narrative, that therefore proves we should have women Pastors and Elders. The explicit texts I cite later in this response reveals that the clear didactic teaching of the Scripture is clearly opposed to what you are advocating.
As many women and men can attest, gifts are self-evidently not gendered, and I don’t think there’s anything in the passages about gifts to suggest such a thing.
Self evident to who? Not to me. Not to many Reformed people I know. Allow me to suggest that they are only self evident to egalitarians because you begin with egalitarian presuppositions — presuppositions that I believe can not be supported by the weight of Scripture.
In terms of the passages about gifts… well, those have to be read in conjunction with the passages on leadership and those passages expressly and self-evidently prohibit women serving as leaders.
Much of the “usurp authority” language is used in the context of a culture in which goddess-worship was prominent (Ephesus) and many egalitarians think the specific problem here was false teachers in a city in which women were already more involved religious work than men, and so were possibly causing problems in the Church with pagan teachings. It is necessary to remember these are letters.
This is a fine theory but it really doesn’t hold water. In other passages, such as Jude and Timothy, the Apostles go out of their way to warn against heretical men. If it were a problem in the Churches where both men and women were the problem then the Apostles would have given a warning that was more generic in terms of gender silencing all false teaching as opposed to just silencing women. However, as the problem is clearly women usurping authority (as Eve did in the Garden when she usurped Adam’s authority and ate the fruit) so the Apostle forbids women from usurping proper covenantal authority.
And to be precise … they are inspired letters. This is God speaking in these letters.
As to patriarchy being instituted in the Garden of Eden, Tessa is saying, I believe correctly, that that verse IS a part of the curses of sin. It comes right after pains in childbirth–it’s a result of the fall.
The curse of sin is found in Eve desiring the position of her husband. The promise that God will not let the curse overwhelm is found in God’s statement …”But he shall rule over you.” This promise is reinforced in the NT where wives are clearly and explicitly told to “obey their husbands.”
In the poetic form of Chapter 1, the liturgical piece that begins the book, it talks about the creation of man and then of woman, but the recap in the following chapter just says God created man in his own image, male and female he created them. Again, it’s a matter of literary style.
First … Genesis 1-11 is not Poetic genre. It is Historical genre.
Hebrew narrative always starts with a QAL (past tense) verb, and from then on, all the main verbs are VA-YIQTOL (future tense converted to past tense by the vav-conversive). That’s exactly how Genesis 1 is structured.
In the beginning, God created (QAL) the heavens and the earth. (Verse 2 is made up of 3 disjuctive clauses…i.e. they begin with a vav on a noun, not a verb…so they aren’t part of the main verbal chain)
Verse 3 – And God said (VA-YIQTOL)
Verse 4 – And God saw….and God separated…both VA-YIQTOL
Verse 5 – And God called…and there was…both VA-YIQTOL
etc. throughout the passage.
That’s just factually and objectively how narrative is constructed in Hebrew. Pick any OT Bible story that’s taken as history, and it’s structured exactly the same way. Poetry is never structured this way.
Second, the flow of the narrative makes it clear that woman was made for Adam to be his help-meet. The rest of Scripture confirms this as I cite below.
Third, the fact that the serpent went to Eve for the temptation reveals that even the Serpent understood he was bypassing God’s covenantal ordering. Instead of going to the covenant head, the serpent bypasses Adam’s headship and overturns Adam by overturning Adam’s helpmeet. (There also may be a hint in the Genesis record that Adam failed in His covenant responsibilities by not protecting and serving his wife by keeping the serpent out of the garden.)
As for Ephesians 5, there’s an arbitrarily added subject heading that says ‘wives and husbands’, but the verse immediately preceding this says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The following verses are dependent clauses–wives and husbands submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, here’s why (marriage is a big deal). We’re partnering to show something.
This is an inaccurate understanding. What is going on in Ephesians is that Paul gives a general command (“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”) and then he follows that with particular examples of what that submission to one another out of reverence for Christ looks like. What “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ,” looks like is, “wives submitting to husbands, servants submitting to Masters, and children submitting to parents. Any attempt to universalize the submitting so that husbands submit to wives and masters to servants and parents to children does severe violence to the text and to God’s original intent.
I don’t think the Bible ever suggests “women should submit to men”. Even if you don’t agree with my reading of Ephesians, I think you can only take it as far as wives and husbands. As far as Galatians 3:18 goes, “there is no Jew or Greek” obviously doesn’t mean ethnicity doesn’t exist or shouldn’t be celebrated, but it DOES mean those with different ethnicities are absolutely equal in the family of God.
No … Galatians 3:28 does not mean that different ethnicities are absolutely equal (i.e. — the same) in the family of God. Galatians 3:28 isn’t teaching that. Gal. 3:28 is teaching that when it comes to access to a right standing with God through Jesus Christ none of the very real social order differences that exist in Church and culture bar anyone from having that access. Both genders, all ethnicities and both servants and masters can come to Christ. Your reading of this text has origins that are very recent.
Some texts that deal with the issue at hand.
1 Cor 14:34-35,37 — Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1 Cor 11:3-10 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. …
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry.
6 Because of these, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience,
7 in which ye also once walked, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Do not lie one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds,
10 and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him,
Because of our identification with Christ (cmp. 3:1-4;”Risen w/ Christ” … “Ye are dead” … “Life is hid w/ Christ in God” … “When Christ, who is our life,”) Paul leverages a “therefore” in vs. 5 and so exhorts the Colossian believers to live in light of the fact that they are living in the Established New Creation (cmp. 1:13f). They are to be distinct from those who are not living in the new Creation. The labor of Col. 3:5 – 4:6 is to tease out that contrast.
In Col. 3:9-10 St. Paul uses the phraseology of “put on the new man.” The imagery here is of having put on a different set of clothing. The allusion of putting on new clothing may hearken back to Genesis 3:7. There we find that Adam and Eve sought to clothe themselves apart from God, perhaps to hide from God and from each other. What happens though is that God clothes them with clothing He provides thus suggesting that a Restoration of Adam and Eve has begun (Gen. 3:21). What we have here then is that their old clothes were taken off and they put on the new clothes provided by God. Hence, should we see that there is a relationship between who they were as constituted by the fall and as seen by their autonomous clothing they self provided and their restoration to God begun as signified by God’s clothing of them we may see in Col. 3:10 with it’s “put off the old man with his deeds and put on the new man” language a reference back to God’s restoration after the fall.
G. K. Beale puts it this way,
“The clear implication is that their first suit of clothes was taken off and replaced by divinely made clothing, indicating that the self made clothing was associated with their alienated condition and sinful shame (Gen. 3:7 – 11) and was an insufficient covering for those who have begun to be reconciled to God.”
So … this putting off … putting on language is indicative that we are no longer related to Adam (who is the consummate old man) and are now related to Christ (who is the consummate new man). It is important to note this Federal – Covenantal language. It is not that we have gone from one subjective state to another subjective state, as if we were once nasty people but now we are nice people. Rather, it is language that is speaking about covenantal realities. This language is talking about covenantal positioning. Once in Adam … now in Christ. In this putting on of Christ (the new man) we are now restored and will go from restoration unto restoration until the fullness of the present NOW will be Consummated in Christ.
Here we find the anti-thesis introduced again by St. Paul, for one is either part of the Dead humanity that is identified with Adam or one is united to the living community that is found in union with Christ Jesus.
Early Christian tradition took this quite seriously for in their Baptism services their would be a clear change of clothing given to the baptized after their baptism.
Now, as those who have been returned to the image of God (see vs. 10) we are now what Adam and Eve were intended to be in the Garden (cmp. Gen. 1:26-28). We are the re-creation of humanity, created, to rule, subdue, and to be fruitful and multiply. In Col. 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, and in Col. 3:9-10 we, the brethren of Christ are, because of being united to Him, the image of God. We are called to do then, what Adam failed to do. The idea that we are to be a ruling people is hinted at in 3:1.
Because we are now these renewed image bearers who are identified with Christ, and so are part of the New Creational existence, where we rule, subdue, and have dominion under King Christ, our High Priest mediator, our calling is to disassociate from who were were in Adam, and reflect who we are in Christ.
Now a word about St. Paul’s phrase, “renewed unto the knowledge of Him.” Adam and Eve failed at this Godly knowledge in as much as they failed to remember God’s word. Being renewed unto a knowledge of the image of God will guarantee that the Colossian believers won’t make the mistake of the 1st Adam who was “deluded with persuasive argument,” (2:4) and “taken captive through … empty deceit” (Col. 2:8).
“Edmund Burke believed that, since human beings are born into a functioning world populated by others, society is—to use a large word he wouldn’t—metaphysically prior to the individuals in it. The unit of political life is society, not individuals, who need to be seen as instances of the societies they inhabit.
What makes conservatives conservative are the implications they have drawn from Burke’s view of society. Conservatives have always seen society as a kind of inheritance we receive and are responsible for; we have obligations toward those who came before and to those who will come after, and these obligations take priority over our rights. Conservatives have also been inclined to assume, along with Burke, that this inheritance is best passed on implicitly through slow changes in custom and tradition, not through explicit political action. Conservatives loyal to Burke are not hostile to change, only to doctrines and principles that do violence to preexisting opinions and institutions, and open the door to despotism. This was the deepest basis of Burke’s critique of the French Revolution; it was not simply a defense of privilege.
Though philosophical liberalism traces its roots back to the Wars of Religion, the term “liberal” was not used as a partisan label until the Spanish constitutionalists took it over in the early nineteenth century. And it was only later, in its confrontation with conservatism, that liberalism achieved ideological clarity. Classical liberals like John Stuart Mill, in contrast to conservatives, give individuals priority over society, on anthropological as well as moral grounds. They assume that societies are genuinely constructs of human freedom, that whatever we inherit from them, they can always be unmade or remade through free human action. This assumption, more than any other, shapes the liberal temperament. It is what makes liberals suspicious of appeals to custom or tradition, given that they have so often been used to justify privilege and injustice. Liberals, like conservatives, recognize the need for constraints, but believe they must come from principles that transcend particular societies and customs. Principles are the only legitimate constraints on our freedom.
The quarrel between liberals and conservatives is essentially a quarrel over the nature of human beings and their relation to society.”
1.) Because of their belief in Covenant Theology Reformed people have always inclined towards being Conservative. Covenant theology teaches us that all of God’s people through time are one organic people. We see this in our Baptism services when the Generations assemble at the Baptismal font in order that a member of their family may be ratified in their place in the covenant of grace. This covenant into which they are being announced is a covenant in which their forebears were placed through the centuries and it is a place where Baptized’s generations to follow will also be announced. Also, the very nature of Federal Theology with its idea of Federal Headship pushes Reformed people in a conservative direction. The teaching of Scripture where we find man created as incomplete apart from woman suggests that the individual is not the primary building block of society but rather the community is apriori to the individual. Likewise the idea of the fifth commandment pushes Christians towards being conservative in their disposition. Family is to be honored. Even the very idea of the God as Triune having Eternal community pushes the Biblical Christian towards conservative commitments. The Reformed have always believed that change comes incrementally and organically as is seen by their watch words of doing things, “Decent and in order.”
It is not as if, however, there are not understandings of proper individualism in the Reformed mindset and ethos. The Reformed emphasis on personal and individual responsibility in sanctification bespeaks a proper individualism. The Reformed understanding of justification by faith alone puts the individual as individual before God alone.
However, the Reformed faith favors a conservative dynamic as the individual finds his identity in a community of communities which are prior to him and will long outlive him. Yes, it is true that there will come times when, for the good of the community, the individual flavor will have to exercise itself (as when a community is together going over a cliff) but on the whole the Reformed instinct is conservative because the Bible teaches us this conservative disposition.
2.) On the other hand it has always been variant flavors of Anabaptist “Christianity” which has given us the Liberal Christian. The Anabaptist, like the Liberal, sees the sovereign self abstracted from any context as being the central integer in all that God does. Even when Anabaptist communities arise they are communities that are created by a shared conviction of the priority of the individual over the community. When we look at the Anabaptist doctrine of Baptism which emphasizes the choice of the individual we see the Liberal spirit coming to the fore. When we we see the Anabaptist doctrine (implicit or explicit) of justification by works we see the individual cast upon himself.
Ironically, in contradiction to the quote above Liberals do appeal to a long standing custom and tradition and that is the the time honored custom and tradition that we ought to ignore custom and tradition. Whenever we find a person seeking to overthrow the past whole sale only on the whim that we are sovereign enough to do that we find the Liberal. We have seen passive doses of Liberalism since the Enlightenment. Everything from the breakdown of the community and family through the creation of government schools to separate children from their family, to the giving of women the vote, to the attack on the family with the advent of abortion. All of these changes have come to us from those who believe that society can be reorganized according to the sovereign individual self who is prior to community. Any place you see people working to instantaneously overthrow long set community patterns you find the liberal.
And of course, being a conservative, I would note that Satan was the Liberal par excellent. Satan himself arose to defy the Almighty. Satan, as the Liberal individualist tempted or first parents to seize the Liberal position of the sovereign self in order to overthrow the community order that God has established. Satan, in the temptation of Jesus tempted Jesus to become the Liberal individual by seizing for Himself self aggrandizement.