The Foursquare Church is a firm defender of women preachers and pastors. The Bible is not. This is Part 2 of a Biblical response to the Foursquare document: “Women’s Leadership Ministry.”
I submit this in Christian love.
I am picking up my response at the point I left it at the end of Part 1.
The Foursquare Church and I Corinthians 14
This marks our arrival in I Corinthians 14. We will begin at verses 34 and 35.
The Foursquare Church document states: “If these verses were intended as a pastoral correction to noisy women, telling them to ask their questions at home, then Paul’s admonition, ‘The women are to keep silence in the churches. . .’ was not meant to be a censorship of women who were trying to minister properly in a service.”
The “if” at the beginning of this quote is like a supporting leg on the Eiffel Tower. For such a tiny word, it bears a lot of weight. It is a good example of conjecture and presupposition I often come across in the draft.
To begin with, it is hard to imagine women being the only noisy ones in the services. (We know that is not true.) And if they were, why not just tell them to stop making noise?
Paul doesn’t tell them to “stop making noise,” but to “be silent.” Nor does he make a distinction between “noisy women” and those who are “trying to minister properly.” Does that seem fair? No one likes it when the whole class at school is punished for someone’s bad behavior. Why not reward and reinforce the “right way” it should be done? Paul didn’t shut down the men for the confusion they were contributing. He gave them instructions for the proper way to use their gifts in church (14:26-33).
Is this fair to the ladies? Seeing as how Paul’s directive also censored those who were “trying to minister properly.” His directive is to all of them.
The Foursquare Church and Paul’s plural “churches”
Now notice the plural “churches” Paul uses here. I alluded to this in Part 1 of my response to the Foursquare Church. There is only one church in Corinth. He is certainly referring to that church. But he is also referring to churches beyond Corinth: all churches. That means he expects women in all the churches to be silent. I am, in fact, quoting the text.
In my Greek NT verse 33b actually begins a new paragraph and combines the lines “As in all the churches of the saints, the women in the churches are to be silent. . .” This paragraph division is also reflected in the NIV and RSV. It is no longer a local problem with “noisy women” Paul is dealing with. He has spread the peanut butter over everyone’s piece of toast. It turns out, there may not even be such a problem. It is the manner in which God expects women to behave in all the churches. Talk about a boomerang coming back and hitting you in the ear!
The Foursquare Church fumbling with a football in the end zone
The Foursquare Church document soon follows with this: “The law referred to in verse 34 is not identified. . .” It is not “identified” for a good reason. It doesn’t need to be. The recipients of Paul’s letter know what it is. If they don’t, for all intents and purposes he is shooting an arrow at nothing. He’s smarter than that. And the point he is making is too important for that. In America, we have problems with things like this. Instead of guessing, why not let the Bible tell us what it is?
On to Corinth
Walk with me to Corinth.
Paul began his ministry there, reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath (Acts 18). As was his custom, he sought to persuade his fellow Jews during synagogue services that Jesus was the Messiah. He offered evidence “from the law of Moses and the prophets,” their Scriptures (our example is from Acts 28:23). Acts 13:15 reveals there was a characteristic reading “of the law and the prophets” in every synagogue service.
After Paul left the synagogue in Corinth, he began ministering in a house next door. The leader of the synagogue believed, with all his family. They left the synagogue too, and became members of the fellowship established by Paul (Acts 18:8; I Cor. 1:14). Even the subsequent ruler of the synagogue believed and was a member of the fellowship in Corinth. He was, for a time, also a fellow traveler with Paul (Acts 18:17; I Cor. 1:1).
For a year and a half, Paul taught the Word of God in Corinth. The OT is all he had. Obviously, all the Jews in the synagogue who became believers understood what the law was. In fact, all the Jews in Corinth (and everywhere else), believers or not, knew what it was (see Acts 18:12,13; 22:12). Even Paul’s Greek converts knew. You can be sure he had not failed to inform them about the law during the year and a half he taught them, seeing how the only text he had was the OT and knowing the important position it held in those Scriptures.
The first five books, written by Moses and known as the Torah or Pentateuch, mark the first major division of the OT. They are referred to in the Jewish Canon as “the law” (see Luke 24:44). This is common knowledge. It is no earth-shattering discovery! It’s as plain as a nose. Why create a problem where there is none?
May I answer that?
Please answer that
Because of the Scriptural weight, it bears.
Paul’s reference here, to “the law,” is not an appeal to a statute or legal code given at Mount Sinai. He is referring to Moses’ account of man’s creation and fall in Genesis 2 and 3, the very foundation of our Judeo-Christian faith. We know this is true because this is the same Scriptural basis he gives for his instructions in I Timothy 2:13 and 14, I Corinthians 14’s “sister” passage. No pun intended. (Nun.)
Paul closes his circle of wagons around Genesis 3:16 which follows the first proclamation of the Gospel: “To the woman He [God] said. . . your desire will be to your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Keil and Delitzsch make this observation: “Created for the man, the woman was made subordinate to him from the very first. . . The woman had broken through her divinely appointed subordination to the man; she had not only emancipated herself from the man to listen to the serpent, but had led the man into sin. For that, she was punished with a desire. . .and subjection to the man” (Commentary on the Old Testament – The Pentateuch, page 103: underlines are mine). To this, they add: in Christ, this is “changed into a form more in harmony with the original relation, viz. that of a rule on the one hand, and subordination on the other, which have their roots in mutual esteem and love.”
Focusing in on the point of the Sword in I Corinthians 14:35-38
When you stand on a rim of the Grand Canyon, you realize how big it is! We stand on the rim of something equally huge when we look into this passage in I Corinthians 14. We may not realize the scale of its importance. Paul is not playing games. Neither should we. The Holy Spirit has him speak boldly. He says it is “shameful [ugly, disgraceful],” not: for a woman to “make noise,” but, for a woman “to speak” in a church (14:35). Then he draws his Sword and says, “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him know assuredly [with certainty] that the things I am writing to you are a command [ἐντολή] of the Lord [‘the precept of Christ relative to the orderly management of affairs in religious assemblies’ – Thayer]” (14:37).
The point of his Sword, “κυρίου ἐστίν ἐντολή” (“of the Lord, it is a command”), reaches us who live in the twenty-first century. It is the Word, the command, of Christ. His Lordship stands at the crossroads. It calls to mind His words, “Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46). There is no prevaricating, dodging, or sidestepping this. No one can claim ignorance. Paul adds, “If anyone is ignorant, he is ignorant for himself” (I Cor. 14:38): he (or she) is purposely ignorant. It’s not complicated. Jesus wants to lead us, lovingly, on a straight path. The right path.
Though I Corinthians 14:37 relates to everything Paul has written regarding public worship, it bears closer proximity to his instructions for women than anything else in the text!
The Foursquare Church and Galatians
I am taking a short hop from here to a couple of arguments the writers of the Foursquare Church “Women’s Leadership Ministry” give from Galatians 3.
Yes. Both men and women are one in Christ and heirs of the same promise. But this is no less true for a woman who is silent in church.
Because men and women are one and heirs of the same promise doesn’t mean we all do the same things. Our position in Christ and the ways we serve are blended and their distinctions blurred by the Foursquare Church. More on that soon.
Now, here is a quote from the authors related to the term “sons”: “. . .women are not ascribed a lesser status than men. Women are ‘sons’. . .because they are joined to the Son.” An interesting thought. But I have never had a problem with the term “sons” relating to men and women. Have you? It is not an issue. It is not a problem. Who doesn’t agree we are all sons? Sometimes I think the authors look for problems. They are like a man on the run, always looking over their shoulder.
To say we are all sons of God is no more than a simple recognition of His relationship to us as a Father. Though masculine in gender, the word “sons” is genderless in nature. No curious explanation is needed to make it fit a woman.
Examples of the word “sons” being used in this way abound in the NT. But if you want to address words in the masculine gender, why stop there? Other words Paul uses in Galatians 3 are also masculine, yet clearly refer to the ladies as well as the men he is writing to: “O foolish Galatians” (v. 1), “as many as are of the works of the law” (v.10), and “Brothers” (v. 15). The word “sons” speaks of God’s offspring: His children.
Continuing the discussion of the Foursquare Church quote above related to Galatians
The Foursquare Church quote I began three paragraphs above, continues: “They [women] stand on exactly the same level as men, they inherit exactly the same promises, and they can have exactly the same types of ministry.” Human reasoning makes a good case. But one “minor detail” was overlooked. What if God says otherwise? Would that change anything? What if we are on the same level in Christ, and we have the same promises, but God has not given us the same types of ministry? It would not be the first time we were different. There are many other ways we are not the same, biologically, emotionally, etc. (the list does not end there, as we all know), because of the way God has made us.
Peter says we are fellow heirs, yet the woman is the weaker vessel (I Pet. 3:7). That means one of us is weak and the other weaker. It also means there are ways we are different, yet one in Christ.
Our sonship and the oneness we share in Christ is related to a position, not the types of ministries we have. I am no less my father’s son than my brother who has completely different talents and does completely different things than I do. What we or our sister do, if we had one, has no bearing on our relationship to our father.
Paul wrote to the Galatians: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. . . There is no Jew or Greek, no servant or free, no male or female; for you are all one in Christ.” It is true these categories are erased in Christ, yet they remain a reality in our daily lives. The Jew and the Greek are still a Jew and a Greek. A servant still sets a table for his master. The freeman still has a nice backstroke in the pool at the Y. The male and female still use proper public restrooms. They are not cross-dressing. Their chromosomes have not changed. And yet they are all one in Christ, which reflects a heavenly, eternal reality: a position we all enjoy.
Our greatest desire
Aside from knowing God personally, and glorifying Him and His Son, isn’t it our greatest desire to do and be what He wants? Whatever that is? To be at the center of His will?
What if God does not want men and women to have all the same types of ministry? Would we be content with the role He gives us? Angels don’t have a problem doing what they were created to do unless they are fallen. Flowers seem contented enough to bloom where they are planted. Trees have no desire to be bushes. A cow has no desire to be a cat. A cat would hate being a mouse. Why are we such a problem? The answer is simple. Problems arise whenever God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, or when our thoughts seem to make more sense than His.
An important question for the Foursquare Church
That brings me to an important question. The Foursquare Church quote above, in the third paragraph following our leap to Galatians, stated that “women are not ascribed a lesser status than men.”
Does it seem right for us, as followers of Jesus, to be concerned about our “status“? We are thinking like men. Christianity is not a ladder to the top, unless we mean by that, our destination in heaven. God turns our ladders upside down. He says, “The one who is the most least among you is great”; “The one who is the most least in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than John the Baptist”; “The first will be last, and the last first”; “Humble yourselves in the sight of God and He will lift you up.”
“I am among you as one who serves”; “When you are invited to a wedding banquet, sit down in the lowest place”; “Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble”; “Think in the way that Christ Jesus does: He emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant; He lowered Himself and became obedient to death”; “Do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not”; “Walk humbly with your God”; “Honor will uphold the humble in spirit”; “Blessed are the poor in spirit”; “Blessed are the meek”; “Thus says the high and lofty One: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that has a contrite and humble spirit”; “Whoever will humble himself as a little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
But what does that mean to us if we are concerned about our “status”?
The hop to Galatians was longer than I expected. Time to take a look at I Timothy 2.
The Foursquare Church and I Timothy 2
I’m prepared to ride the train.
Maybe not. “My soul, why are you disquieted within me?”
I am reviewing the last four pages of the Foursquare Church document. (I’ve read them at least once already.) I feel like I am wandering through shadows. Aside from actual quotes from Scripture, there is little light here. I’m sure the authors did not intend for that to be the case. It feels like I’m in a plane spiraling toward the side of a mountain. It’s all I can do, not to bail out! It grieves me to be here: to see God’s Word treated in this way.
But I am here for a reason.
Maybe it will help someone.
We will begin our final lap at I Timothy 2:1-10. Here are quotes from the Foursquare Church document, regarding these verses: “Paul issued a series of instructions to help Timothy counter. . . problems he faced. First, Paul addressed the church’s corporate prayer life, which was lagging, probably because of the internal strife [for which self-appointed false teachers were largely to blame] (2:1-8). . . Anger had diminished their unity.”
Let’s look at the “problems Timothy faced.”
“First, Paul addressed the church’s corporate prayer life, which was lagging, probably because of the internal strife. . . Anger had diminished their unity.” Conjectures and presuppositions are stacked like salami and pickles on a submarine sandwich.
A “corporate prayer life, which was lagging“? It may or may not have been. How do we know? If I exhort you to pray, am I insinuating that your prayer life is lagging? (I may be asking you to focus prayer on certain things.) Then a reason is suggested for the “lag.” Unfortunately, “probably because” is only a conjecture. To this, add: “Anger had diminished their unity.” How do we know that? The story is carefully groomed to have a desired effect and ultimately produce a desired result. We are given a pair of glasses that will help us see what the writers want us to see.
A reference is also made to women’s immodest clothing and ornate hairstyles in church, “whose behavior brought strife to the church.” Some dressed in “revealing clothing, and others wore expensive gowns and jewelry; those behaviors produced envy in other women.” “Your submarine is ready.”
This could all be true. It’s just that it’s a lot of conjecture. Personally, I’m uncomfortable with that. This is God’s Word. Reverence is begging to be restored. Ideas are tossed freely into the text by the Foursquare Church: ideas that are not there; without a qualm or twitch of conscience. Is the end so important it will justify whatever it takes to get there?
A common practice
I have observed a common practice the authors use when explaining the meaning of a passage of Scripture. They begin with eisegesis, by introducing into a passage elements that are critical if they are going to establish their objective. The “exegesis” that follows is drawn from (and corresponds with) the picture they have painted. In the process, the Biblical text is compromised. It’s not surprising their “exegesis” uncovers what they are looking for. It is simple sowing and reaping. Even a “background” is carefully designed (often with conjectures and assumptions) for each set of verses being studied, and labeled “their historical context.” The “understanding” one gains in this way is drawn from a vacuum. It is an effective method if you want to indoctrinate someone.
As an example of this, at one point in their discussion of I Timothy 2:11-14 the Foursquare Church authors wrote, “This all makes sense if we recall Paul’s purpose was to mediate a difficult situation, not define women’s potential for all other situations” (the underline is mine). Which is another way of saying, “This all makes sense if we remember our presuppositions.” Otherwise, it may not.
Let us take a look at statements made regarding I Timothy 2:11-14. The authors write: “Some have used [these verses] to prevent women from teaching in public gatherings. Others have reacted angrily against what the verses appear to say. . . However, considering their historical context, these verses were probably written to silence certain women who had become aggressive proponents of legalism and to warn them of the danger they faced in rejecting Paul’s gospel.”
What if we removed “probably” from the English language?
One wonders what the writers of the Foursquare Church document would have done, had the word “probably” been dropped from the English language. You have to admit, it is a handy word. But it doesn’t serve you well if you want a Sword in your hand! A chain is as strong as its weakest link. “Probably” makes the whole chain unreliable. Can we base a belief on this? And teach it to others?
I doubt that anyone reacts angrily against what these verses “appear to say.” They react angrily because of their unambiguous nature: because of what they clearly say. Are you angry because the hamburger you ordered appears to be missing in the bun? No. You’re angry after searching and not finding it!
Making trouble in Ephesus
In reference to the women who were making trouble in Ephesus, the alleged reason for Paul’s directives, the Foursquare Church document says: “If they would ‘quietly receive instruction’ [from Timothy], in time there would be women teaching in Ephesus.” So, it turns out, the goal is to achieve the opposite of what Paul said. “I do not permit a woman to teach,” becomes, “Be sure, Timothy, that you see to it, that women teach in Ephesus.” If our Bible was a compass, we could not depend on it to find true north. It would be unreliable.
Then the document reiterates, “It has already been clearly established that Paul did not forbid women to speak authoritatively in church. He acknowledged in his first letter to the church in Corinth that he expected women to pray and prophesy (1 Cor. 11:5,13). It would be extremely odd for him to say one thing to the church in Corinth and another to the church in Ephesus.”
Yes, it would. That’s why he did not do that, which will very likely have ramifications, not only for Corinth and Ephesus but “all the churches of the saints.” Watch out for boomerangs. Paul made a reference to women praying and prophesying, as I have already pointed out before he drew a focus on the Corinthians gathering for public worship (I Cor. 11:17-14:39). And he did not say, in his first letter to the Corinthians, he “expected” women to pray and prophesy. That is not there. He was simply acknowledging that they were doing this, without a reference to approval or disapproval. Things that are “clearly established” are sadly lacking. Even in contextual terms.
Calm down and stop arguing?
Verses 11 and 12 of I Timothy 2 are described in this way: “These verses indicate that Paul actually told the Ephesian women to stop being contentious. . . hesuchia [in verse 11: ‘Let a woman learn in silence‘] has to do more with a person’s attitude than speech. It refers to people calming down and no longer arguing.”
The Greek word ἡσυχία, referred to in the last paragraph, means “quietness, rest, silence.” In I Timothy 2:11 it means “silence“ (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament): “Let woman [a singular form, without an article] learn in silence.” The word is not a window on circumstances that may have preceded it. Other words in the text will have to give us that information. But there are none. The authors of the document are supplying that information. All ἡσυχία expresses is “quietness, rest, silence.” In this case, “silence” (which in some Bibles is translated “quietness”: being closely related). We cannot tell from the word itself if people were calming down and no longer arguing, being contentious, or snoring during the sermon. Ἡσυχία is “silent” about that. It has nothing to say. It is true to itself.
Replacing words and having nothing to say
The Foursquare Church document also focuses on another Greek word Paul uses in I Timothy 2:12: “The word authentein is based on the personal pronoun for ‘self’ and is used to describe those who exercise an authority that no one has given to them. Paul’s goal was to keep those women from using a self-taken authority when addressing Timothy or Paul himself (1 Tim. 3:1,2; 5:17). The women were to be humble and learn from them.” (The underlines are mine.)
The authors of the document replace “woman” and “man” (the words Paul uses in verse 12) with “women using self-taken authority” and “Timothy and Paul.” This reduces the field of “man” dramatically, to just two men: “Timothy and Paul”! That means Paul is asking “those women” (also reducing the field of “woman”) misusing authority in the Ephesian church to be subject to him and Timothy! I think I’m being fair. Look for yourself. “[These] women were to be humble and learn from them” (Timothy and Paul). By putting a spin like this on verse 12, women are allowed to teach and have authority over any man other than Paul and Timothy. The effect this has is exactly the opposite of what Paul said. Remove Paul and Timothy and this verse will have nothing to say. It ends up like some passages in Thomas Jefferson’s Bible.
The abuse Paul’s epistles take
This is a good example of what Peter said about the abuse Paul’s epistles would take: “Speaking in them, some things that are hard to understand, which those who are unlearned and unstable, TWIST [DISTORT, TORTURE], as also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:15,16). These were some of the last words Peter wrote before he laid down his pen and his life. But this raises a serious question. Does the way the authors of the document handle Scripture end at I Corinthians 14 and I Timothy 2? Let Peter answer that. “Which those who are unlearned and unstable twist, as also the other Scriptures.”
Interestingly, the quote three paragraphs above includes a reference to I Timothy 3:1 and 2. There Paul gives a list of qualifications for bishops (pastors). He says, “It is necessary that the bishop be. . .the husband of one wife.” Paul is expecting pastors to be men.
A long paragraph for your reading pleasure
Now I will quote an extended portion from the Foursquare Church document related to I Timothy 2:13 and 14. It is one paragraph in the document. I leave it as it is. Except for underlines and brackets. The brackets at the beginning are for clarification.
“In this passage, Paul wanted to show those [women] who are being contentious that they had been deceived. The warning he issued was based on the example of Adam and Eve because there was a striking similarity between the situation in Ephesus and the Garden of Eden. Adam was created first and had lived in Eden prior to Eve. During that time, he personally heard God speak to him forbidding him to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16, 17). He had a firsthand revelation from God Himself. However, Genesis does not record a similar incident involving Eve. It is certainly possible that the topic of the forbidden fruit came up in conversation as the two humans walked together with the Lord ‘in the cool of the day’ (Gen. 3:8), but it is also possible that Eve received her knowledge of this command from Adam rather than directly from God. This seems to be most consistent with the Biblical text. It is this second understanding that turns these two verses in Timothy into a powerful warning to the Ephesian women without disparaging them as the gender more vulnerable to deception (‘but the woman being deceived,’ v.14). In fact, a universally applicable principle emerges in these verses, and it fit the crisis in Ephesus perfectly. If Eve received the command from Adam, then an additional level of trust would have been required of her, beyond what was required of Adam. When tempted, she had to decide if she would obey the command, but she also had to determine whether or not Adam’s information was accurate. The serpent’s temptation may have caused her to doubt that Adam had understood what he heard (Gen. 3:4-6). In a similar way, the Ephesian women had to choose whether or not to trust Paul’s report of the gospel, which he claimed to have received directly from Christ. He said the gospel he preached was not something he had invented or something he had been taught by another teacher. He had received it by revelation (Gal. 1:11,12). Just as God first spoke to Adam, who then spoke to Eve, so God had also first spoken to Paul. Because Eve rejected Adam’s report, she fell into deception and, ultimately, death. If the Ephesian women rejected Paul’s report of the gospel, they would make the same mistake Eve had made. She doubted Adam; they doubted Paul. Paul had appointed Timothy as his representative and had taught him the gospel. By listening to the voices of the false teachers, the Ephesian women were being deceived by the serpent just as Eve had been. They needed to stop trying to correct Timothy and trust that he was accurately presenting the gospel that leads to salvation. They needed to ‘receive instruction with all submissiveness’ so that they could gain a solid theological foundation. Then they could rise to the levels of ministry leadership to which God had called them.” (Underlines are mine.)
Notice the progressive nature of the authors’ statements I have underlined in the paragraph above. They move from possibility to certainty. Without establishing certainty, their conclusions would lack credibility. But the certainty resembles a house without a foundation (Matt. 7:26).
The Foursquare Church building a case from silence
The Foursquare Church document says, “[Adam] personally heard God speak to him, forbidding him to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. . . [But] Genesis does not record a similar incident involving Eve,” or tell us how she gained her knowledge about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So, the writers are building their entire case in the paragraph above from silence.
Since “Genesis does not record a similar incident involving Eve”; and since several claims were made in the extended quote above: that Eve received the information about the forbidden fruit from Adam, that she rejected Adam’s report, that she doubted Adam, etc.–we must look at the evidence to determine what is “most consistent with the text.” The Biblical text is Genesis 2 and 3.
Looking at the evidence
We will call Eve to the witness stand.
“What did you say, Eve, when the serpent said, ‘Indeed, has God said, You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?'”
“I said, ‘From the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat from it, or touch it, or you will die.'”
“Did you say, ‘God has said’?”
“You did not tell the serpent, ‘Adam told me that God said this’?”
“You were convinced God said it. Is that correct?”
“I sincerely believed that God said this.”
If Eve did receive her information about the tree from Adam, there is no reason to believe, from her own testimony, that she questioned its accuracy or doubted that he had understood what he heard. But there is more. If we take the record that is given to us in Genesis 3, Eve did not see it as something Adam said. She was not thinking in those terms when she answered the serpent. She saw it as something God said. Both Adam and Eve seem to have had a good understanding, or she would not have added the words “or touch it.” Perhaps they had agreed it was best not to even touch the fruit.
“A universally applicable principle”
In the long paragraph above the authors of this Foursquare Church document write about “a universally applicable principle” that “emerges from these verses, and it fit the crisis in Ephesus perfectly.” The “principle” is associated with the sentence that follows. “If Eve received the command from Adam, then an additional level of trust would have been required of her, beyond what was required of Adam.” So, what is the universally applicable principle? Since God spoke directly to Adam, and Eve received her information from him, “an additional level of trust would have been required of her.” That means, no direct revelation, more trust required.
It would follow (so the reasoning goes) that this is also true of us. Hence, the “universal” application. We are like Eve. We do not receive a direct revelation from God as Adam did. All we have is God’s written Word, which you might say is “second-hand information,” as was Eve’s information from Adam. For the Ephesian women, they had the OT and Paul’s teachings; whereas Paul, like Adam, had a direct revelation.
Mind you; this is all based on something assumed from silence: that Eve got her information from Adam, and not directly from God. This becomes the basis for a system of belief. The authors leave no doubt about that. “It is this understanding that turns these two verses in Timothy [2:13,14] into a powerful warning to the Ephesian women without disparaging them as the gender more vulnerable to deception.” Why trouble ourselves with historical realities? Anyone who does not have a direct revelation from God is as susceptible as Eve to deception.
Too bad she is the one who messed up. That is the Biblical and historical reality. And direct revelation didn’t seem to help Adam do any better.
Poking holes in the Bible
Why do we come up with clever ways like this to poke holes in what the Bible teaches? The answer is simple. Though we don’t want anyone to think so, we only accept the Bible on our own terms.
Is it true, then, that an “additional level of trust” is required of us if we have not received a direct revelation from God? That is, if we receive His Word from someone else (as expressed in John 20:31)? Peter says no. In II Peter 1 he refers to his personal experience seeing Jesus transfigured and hearing God’s direct words from heaven. Then he says, the prophetic Word which we have heard from others and read is more certain than his revelation from God (v. 19). This does not bring into question the significance of his experience. It does bring into question “an additional level of trust” being required of Eve and us.
Remember what Jesus said. “If they do not believe Moses, neither will they believe if someone rises from the dead.” There are no “levels of trust.” We must all believe what God says. Eve was not required to have more trust than Adam. Noah and Abraham were on a par with their wives with respect to their “level” of trust, even though they were the ones who received the direct revelations from God. Sometimes it was harder for them because of that, when their faith was tested by time.
You can walk, but you can’t hide and walk at the same time
By the way, do you remember this line in the extended paragraph above, from the Foursquare Church? “It is certainly possible that the topic of the forbidden fruit came up in conversation as [Adam and Eve] walked together with the Lord ‘in the cool of the day’ (Gen. 3:8).” Yes, it is. Only, they were not walking with Him. They were hiding. They had just sinned!
In Part 3, I will give an exposition of I Timothy 2:8-14.
And once again, we will see the Bible draws a line on women preachers and pastors in the church.
© James Unruh 2017 and beyond