3/12/2007

An Obvious Application of Timothy and Titus to Ordination Issues.

A denominational ordination policy of ”Bible Strict Constructionists”
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26 comments:

Larry said...

You left out 1 Corinthians, Keith.

Or are you one of those preachers who doesn't believe the whole Bible ;-)

1 Cor. 11:4--"Every man who prays or prophesies with long hair dishonors his head."

Kevin K. Wright said...

I think the Wesleyan Church actually uses that criteria for selecting its general officers and other leadership. Ha! This is a good post as it directs our attention back to the issue of hermenutics. While I think there might be a churches that read the passages you have highlighted literally in a fundamentalist light, I doubt that those same churches apply their rigid hermenutic accross the whole expanse of Scripture. I can't think of one off the top of my head. Maybe others can.

Bill Barnwell said...

I was also going to add that plenty of churches actually DO use this type of criteria of who should be ordained or allow to serve in pastoral functions. Not only have I read literature to this effect, I personally know Christians who think like this. When I started out pastoring right out of college I was single. My wife and I have only been married 15 months don't have any children yet. I suppose I'm violating the Lord's commands by ministering without any children. And as you point out, certainly having children alone doesn't suffice, they have to be old enough where they can be willfully obedient to your teachings. So I guess I should just find another calling for the next 12 years or so.

luke middleton said...

I think it serves people to help breakdown the logic and hermeneutic behind how we approach this passage. But, the reader is left without a reconstruction or positive application (i.e., "This does NOT mean x. It DOES mean Y."). What is Paul affirming in these passages? What is Paul saying? I think we often sit content in deconstructing and working our way out of what it would seem Paul is saying and we often feel accomplished there. What can we take away from what Paul said that will be used for our edification and joy? I know that you accomplished your point, but I bring this up recognizing that many readers will walk away from theses passages without taking the time to try to find what Paul is affirming, saying, and commanding. We are left with no rubric for how to approach Scripture. It is not enough to say, "Well how about a holy kiss, you crazy fundamentalists!?"

I hope readers move beyond the liberating stance of deconstruction and move to a place where they look at, for example, 1 Tim. 2 (just a chapter before where you're at), where it says, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." How do we know that that isn't just cultural? Or, more specifically, isn't time-sensitive? Sure, that was true then, we needed Jesus then because of where we were as a culture, but there are other ways now that we are more mature and knowledgeable about spiritual things. Obviously, that's not true, but how do we know the difference? It'd be neat to go beyond rebuking and toward correcting and training. But, I do recognize that wasn't your point.

I think 1 Tim. 2 might've been the best place to focus, where Paul says: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." Obviously, your approach to Scripture says that's culturally based and is applicable to then and not now. But, what is your prescriptive reading of verses around that statement that say things like, "I desire then that in every place the men should pray"? Was that just a really needy time for the church where Paul had to tell every man (not just really good men or pastors) that they had to pray? How do we actively approach these passages?

You've opened a closed door for us. Where would you direct us to walk to?

::athada:: said...

It seems that the strict constructionists would also be pretty poor - they'd always be "selling all they had", "not turning away those who ask of them", and certainly not "storing up treasures on earth". They'd probably be pacifists too. Oh dear... we're so messed up.

Keith Drury said...

Luke M... You raise a vey fair point. Indeed it is the main point of this article on women;s ordination--that people who claim to "simply follow the Bible" on matters like this have generously "loosed" themselves from other passages surrounding their favorite proof texts banning women from ordination. Reminding them that they already loose some restictions of he Bible as cultural I have hoped their argument on "simply following the Bible" is undercut--and they will have to admit that they at elast theoretically could loose this restriction as they have others. That is the direction of my argument, at least.

But your question is totally fair. My own answer has been given often in other places. I believe the church is obligated to determine what in the bible we should "bind and loose." I believe this is a delegated power from Christ Himself to his church (not to Peter and his successors, but the church at large).

Thus I am content when the church "binds" verses that never were meant to be about abortion and applies them to fetus development. I think this is the church's job. Or binds verses never intended to forbid alcohol or drugs or porn or overeating to issue warnings or even restrictions on these behaviors.

And I am also (reluctantly) accepting when the church "binds" these verses to exclude woman from ministry as it has for most of history. However the debate is open on the issue of woman;s ordaintion (as it is on alcohol among evangelicals today) I therefore work to get the church to "loose" these Scriptures from applying to all times and all cultures--as we already have other passages 9as pointed out above so well by other posts)--in my thinking this is the church's full responsibility either way we decide.

Of course, I know this leaves me open to the church excluding women from ordination if I "lose" the debate. But it is my position nevertheless even with that danger. This is why I enter the debate -- to try to persuade the church to "loose" this prohibition that I believe Jesus and Paul would not give today if they were here, now--to loose it like they ahev loosened other bans.

But I am (historically and presently) in the minority, so I must argue sttrongly for this loosing. So this article is part of a larger debate I have been in for several decades... it was to remind those who say they "follow the clear teaching of Scripture in such matters" that they may follow it in some matters but often they are doing just what I want them to do--they are binding some Scriptural verses and loosing others already--I just want them to loose the one on women's ordination like like have on married older ministers with cjildern...

Thanks for the critical question Luke... I have written on this before. If you search "bind and loose" on my site you can find them--the most serious one is here:
http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/wesley.quadrilateral.community.htm (If that copied right--if not use the search engine)

Thinking in Ohio said...

I just thought this post was wonderful. Thanks!

demarks84 said...

In your sarcasm, you have opened many doors to putting all of scripture into a "cultural setting" paradigm. The same logic that allows for female pastors ultimately allows homosexuals to enter the pastorate. See what the UMC is already dealing with. The Wesleyan movement is on the same slippery slope as the UMC. Prediction: Within our lifetime, we will see Church of the Nazarene, Wesleyan Church, etc. dealing with lesbian and gay people seeking to pastor churches in their denomination which will come to General Assembly. The feminist movement (including so-called Christian Feminism) is partially driven by the lesbian agenda. Who are the feminists who are militant to become pastors in the Episcopal and UMC--self-proclaimed lesbians. This is what is before you. I seriously hope you can rethink your philosphy to more conform to the brillance of the Scriptural mandates.

::athada:: said...

Coach -
It sounds by your vehement urging of the Church to "loose" women to ministry that you are fighting against the "bindings" themselves (in essence, not submitting to them). For example, if my generation of Wesleyan wants to "loose" alcohol, how to we encourage that while simultaneously expressing our opinions? Do we submit in action only (a Southern Baptist refraining from ordinating a women, an emerging Wesleyan refraining from a glass of wine) and soothe our radical side by subversive blogging and speaking?

demarks84 said...

twathada
Good point. Why should we loose anything that God has already declared is truth? Shall we be as the Roman potiff or the President of the LDS church and "declare" certaing things are now not culturally applicable? Everything is contextual with applications from scripture but you are advocating dismissing certain principles because we have changed even though God declares that His Word will not pass away. The principle found in the contextualized scripture is always true forever. I know Larry may think that long hair can still be acceptable even if the contextual principle is that men should not have long hair. (Of course, much of the artwork of the church from the middle ages on have shown Jesus had long hair. We do not have a photograph of Jesus and I would contend that he did not have long hair regardless of what Cecil B DeMille thought.)

Keith Drury said...

Adam Thada:
Excellet question which I have pondered too. My denomination's position is submission while attempting to change positions. Thus when I was a kid, the church "bound" scriptural teaching that women could not wear men's clothing (slacks) and they were not permitted to wear jewelry or gold or silver because of "the Bible's clear teaching." While submitting to the teaching many pushed to urge the church to "loose" these applications of Bible verses. They obeyed the rules while trying to get them changed. These rules were indeed "loosed" eventually.

As to the slippery slope argument (if you let the women wear pearls eventually you'll be allowing drinking homosexuals to preach because you are making Bible verses cultural) I admit that danger. It is far easier to simply bring ALL the Bible's rules to today--including not eating pork. It is easiest to ordain only "elders" (male, older, fathers) and insist all our women wear hair-coverings all the time they might want to pray. I respect people who attempt to do this. BUT the vast majority of the Christian church accepts SOME rules of the Bible as particular applications--as "one time" (go sell all..) and others to "that time" (hair coverings, pork) while some being for "All time."

I generally trust the Holy Spirit to lead the church in sorting this out. But it can take a long time to reach consensus on some things. On abortion though it took only a few decades. So I think on critical issues the consensus comes fast.

As for woman's ordination the debate continues and will for another 100 years I suspect with a divided church. But I have no doubt whatsoever that women will be ordained by even the Roman catholic church in 100 years. There wioll be a few hold-out churched though even then.

As to using alcohol—the church-at-large has already decided this… you are just a member of one of the hold-out denominations on alcohol. Wesleyans still think the rest of the church is wrong on this, though they have given up trying to persuade the rest and are now trying to convince only themselves. Will your generation “loose” this application? That will be up to you. It is always interesting to me to know what you youngsters want to BIND that is not required now…and what you will LOOSE that is now expected. Start making your list—you will be in charge sooner than you think.

Ken Schenck said...

The problem with the Grudem line, ordaining women eventually leads to accepting homosexuality, is that the Wesleyan Church was ordaining women back in the late 1800's. We're not on that slide.

dan said...

Didn't Billy Graham's son Franklin go through a stage of rebellion. Just a thought that I had.

demarks84 said...

ken
No logic in your statement. Just because the Wesleyan Church is not on the homosexual side YET, doesn't mean they are not heading for that. I don't think the UMC was there a several decades ago either. The trap is set for the egalatarian denominations to eventually have to deal with the ordaining of homosexuals because of their stand on ordaining of women. Even though wesleyan churches have always used women in the pastorate in some form, the issue had not been pushed so far until recently. I am a third generation Nazarene (or shall I say was). It has now become THE issue for women in the church. "We want to be pastors. We deserve to be pastors. We will become pastors. Why don't churches call us to pastor?" Because inside most people, they really know it is not right. They have to be talked into it before they will do it.

Now the "loosing and binding" philosophy of Keith has all the makings of wonderful cult. If he were a judge on the Supreme Court, he would be considered a "reconstructionist". "The Constitution is a living document. It is up to us to reinterpret it for the times. Maybe even relate it to European law."

Garbage! The Bible is not open to be loosed or bound on the whim of mere falible men or to be changed by mere "cultural" reasons. The context of the binding and loosing is what the apostles were to do within the church in relation to the authoritative Word of God. The results of the teachings(Didache) of the apostles were to loose and bind the culture and not the culture changing the teachings. (You have it backwards) Judge righteous judgments by the infalible WORD OF GOD, not change the message of the WORD. That in essence is what Keith is advocating--"Let's change the message by changing the meaning of the Word of God". He accuses some of a buffet style interpretation and says if we are going to do that you can do it with this issue. He does this because he does not want to change his philosophy to conform to the Word of God. I don't care if anyone can be found (or denomination) that truly applies Scripture totally consistent or not--The TRUTH is still the TRUTH no matter what your desire to loose and bind.

Keith--Your "loosing/binding" paradigm is wrong. You need to rethink that one.

Keith Drury said...

Demark,
Thanks for your frank post. I accept your position as one valid position--just so you are willing to permit human slavery, beating your children and insist on ALL the teachings of the Bible as non-cultural and to be implemented today "as is" than I admire you.

What I do not admire is pick-and-choose folk who SAY they bring every verse of the Bible across to today "as is" then ignore some. If you are a strict constructionist I admire you. I allow for a more active Holy Spirit in His church today than that--but I still admire strict constructionists when they honestly bring EVERYthing across 'as is".

I've just only met a few--and all of them were in the restoration Cambelite movement. I need to meet you to find a Nazarene there..or at least a former Nazarene)

James Petticrew said...

"The feminist movement (including so-called Christian Feminism) is partially driven by the lesbian agenda." ... I find this grossly offence, argue theology, exegete Scripture but this kind of uninformed and unsupportable statement should be ruled out of order. I have worked with several female Nazarene Pastors as associates and interviewed many more for the ministry here in the UK and have never heard, or suspected any lesbian agenda. We were the first church to ordain a woman in Scotland and we are as far from ordaining a practising lesbian and homosexual now as we were back 90 years ago. The slippery slope argument is no argument, its just a slur.

demarks84 said...

Proverbs 9:8-10

demarks84 said...

james
Are you admitting that the females that want to be pastors are part of the feminist movement?

keith
What does your bible look like now? How many pages have you ripped out because they were culturally irrelevant?
2 Timothy 3:16,17
Mark 13:31
John 14:34
Mark 8:38
Matt 7:26
Matt 24:35
John 12:48-50

You make silly statements about long hair, head coverings, alcohol consumption, women wearing pants, and other preposterous things. What kind of smoke screen are you concocting? I certainly am not advocating using scripture out of context to force people to do things or not do things. There are some things that are not linked to eternal salvation that many can disagree with and still make it to heaven.

When I stand before my beloved magnificent Savior, I would like to be able to be on record for standing by the infallible Word of God and not "loosing or binding" things on the whims of fallable men making declarations "ex cathedra".
Keith, you are on very dangerous ground. I am not questioning your sincerity or your Christianity. But someone could take what you are stating and lose their soul over it. You will need to deal with that your own way.

I am not a Cambelite. You can't seem to categorize me can you?

Please list the Bible verses you consider as truth for all time regardless of cultural settings. From your posts, I would not think it should take up much space on your next post.

Jeffrey V. said...

Women pastors tend to have a harder time obtaining churches to pastor, secure as large of churches as their male counterparts, or enjoy the longevity of ministerial duty on average with male pastors.

This speaks to a deeply embedded cultural resistance to female ordination.

How is this resistance different culturally to the cultural resistance in New Testament times. Was it really ok for people with Paul's approval to not accept woman's ordination, or was Paul waiting for them to be enlightened? Does it vary by culture? Would it be ok for white congregations to ordain woman pastors but not for Hispanic congregations? Does the Bible become elastic in its application across the globe, with some cultures still in the 'backward' culture of the 'Old Testament' era, but not advanced our current cultural norms.

Looking from the viewpoint of the God who views eternity presently at any place on the continuum, what makes American ordination of women different from Roman ordination of women? If the Roman empire existed today with the same cultural appeals, would the Wesleyan Church bar women from preaching in these areas, but encourage it in America?

You speak of following the culture, but culture seems to still resist woman's ordination? At what point does the culture get to the point that the scales tip in favor of women's ordination?

Justifying or rejecting Scripture on the basis of culture is not what is being accomplished. Ordination of women is forcing cultural change, not necessarily vis versa.

A society’s culture can be defined as a specific society at a particular place and time that follows generally established norms in values, institutions, and expectations for behavior. Some cultures have horribly warped moral compasses that in the past have legitimized infant sacrifice, underage sexual relationships, cannibalism, and other abuses of the most atrocious kind. Cultural approval is not a mandate for change, especially in ecclesiastical matters.

demarks84 said...

Fabulous post jeffrey!
You have brought a breath of fresh air to this topic. Keith seems to be waiting and hoping for the "big wigs" in his denomination or the "powers that be" to somehow wisk away any stigma to the ordination of women. "Oh, come on you flat earth people! Let the women be pastors. Let's loose them on the church. It's about time we let them have their rightful privilege."

I read a very good article by Keith on behindthebadge.net on the problems with unconditional eternal security. He is a great thinker and writer. I don't know where he came up with this loosing and binding stuff. It is dangerous stuff IMO. It is as tough to swallow as the philosophy that Adam was neither male nor female when he was first created. Adam became male only after the rib was removed to produce Eve. Instead two becoming one, they say one became two. Comes from 'Ezer Cenegdo: A Power Like Him, Facing Him as Equal by Joseph E. Coleson, which you can read at: http://www.whwomenclergy.org/booklets/power_like_him.php
I'm not recommending this at all. It would be interesting to know how
far someone can take this. It is a slippery slope.

Christy said...

Just because something goes against the culture or is difficult or causes division, does not mean that it is wrong or not biblical. Just because someone or something challenges narrow-minded people or even the majority of people, does not mean it is wrong. I'm so proud to be an American where majority rules, regardless of moral absolutes and scirpture. If we all decide something is wrong, then that is part of our culture and who cares about God or the Bible, right? WRONG! As far as I can understand, Jesus and the disciples were in the minority. They challenged the culture and brought new light to the scriptures. As far as I can understand, the majority wanted Jesus killed and rejected him. Was Jesus wrong?

Women in ministry do struggle more. That's very true. They often have smaller churches and shorter terms within a church. They struggle more than men. Is that because they can't and shouldn't be in ministry or because people like demarks84 make life miserable for them, openly disrespecting and discrediting them?

If we Christ is our mediator, then why do women need men in the middle? Is Christ only the mediator for men and men the mediator for women? If we say Christ is the only mediator, then women have access to God. If women have access to this relationship, why do they not have access or ability to leadership? If women are able to enter the same classes as men, study alongside them, and graduate alongside them, - how are they unable to lead alongside them?

I grow increasingly tired of the slippery slope mentality. I'm tired of the idea and fixation with homosexuality - as if that is the worst sin and the worst thing that could happen. It is not that I support homosexuality, it's just that I don't view it any differently than pre-marital sex or cohabitation. Hey, I have an idea - we're on a slippery slope to an unwed pastor with a live-in girlfriend. Or what about pronography? Perhaps we are on a slippery slope to pastors who struggle with pronography? I find it difficult to liken an act to a state of being. Homosexuality, cohabitation, pronography, adultery, lying, stealing, murder, etc. are acts. Womanhood is a state of being. We are in no way on some ridiculous slide into the depths of darkness. How gleeful must Satan be that we are so hung up on women in minsitry and so absorbed in fighting the "evil" homosexuals that we miss ministry and attempt to deny grace?.?.?

As for binding and losing, you do it whether or not you want to say you do. How can there be no male or female, no slave or free, no Jew or Greek if we are to distinguish between men and women? At some point you have to cut one or the other lose. We make decisions - right or wrong - about what we will hold to strictly and what we will let go everyday. It is rather scary, though to admit that we don't buy everything 100%, but at some point you need to move past scared and just admit you do it.

Perhaps, though, no one should listen to me...I'm a woman with a heart for ministry who has short hair, wears gold and pearls, and enjoyed that pork last night. According to some, I'm probably reaching the end of that horrible, slippery slope.

demarks84 said...

Christy
Thanks for your comments. At first I didn't know which side of the issue you were on. I'm having a little hard time putting what you said all together. I did see some things I can comment on.
You wrote:
"...people like demarks84 make life miserable for them, openly disrespecting and discrediting them?"
You don't really know me and you accuse me of making people miserable and disrespecting them. (If you don't like the message, then discredit the messenger)Is it because I don't believe women are ordained by God to have authority over the man as stated by scripture? In case you missed the debate, I am the one who looks to the Bible as the authority not some
"loosing and binding" that Keith is advocating. The Bible clearly teaches the headship of the Father over the Son. The Son over men. Men over women. Parents over children. I didn't formulate that. God did. I just agree with what God has already stated through the writers of the Bible. The Father is not better than the Son. They are coequal when it comes to substance. But as far as the authority structure, Jesus obviously acknowledges the Father as his superior. Jesus said He did nothing without the approval of His Father. Headship of men over women does not make women less equal in substance. There is just a system in place of God's authority that we must respect even if we don't understand it. Men cannot be spiritual heads of their households to be led by a woman as their pastor. Who is the (female) pastor's husband head over if his wife is his pastor and head over him?
You wrote:
"How can there be no male or female, no slave or free, no Jew or Greek if we are to distinguish between men and women?"
This seems to be the smoking gun to egalitarians. The context to this passage (statement) obviously is concerning salvation and not authority structure of the church. All have equal access to salvation regardless of their differences. In that, God is no respecter of persons. If you want to find out about what God thinks about authority you will have to go where He is talking about that, not in this context. The passages that Keith sites in Timothy and Titus are the right places to find out how the church should be governed. Women have great opportunities to minister (serve) if done in the context of the Biblical mandates. I have been accused of not wanting women to minister. Not so. But they can not serve in authority over men.

demarks84 said...
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demarks84 said...

Notice the connection of ordaining women to the issue of ordaining homosexuals within the UMC.:

"If I am found guilty by a trial court, then the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church is in conflict with the Gospel. It is arrogance on the part of the church to elevate some people's relationship with God, while denigrating that of others on the basis of innate sexuality." Jimmy Creech, 1999-NOV, on the eve of his trial for conducting a same-sex union ceremony.
bullet "...no annual conference board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality." 2004 General Conference resolution' passed 497 to 418.
bullet
Especially look at this:
"Go back 150 years and you'll find good Christians arguing on behalf of slavery, offering all sorts of biblical justifications. Go back a few years, and churches, including the Southern Baptists, argued against ordaining women. Not just time changes, but people change. I honestly believe God is doing something new here." Mike Underhill, director of program ministries at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, Houston, TX, 2005-FEB-12.
bullet "Some minds and hearts are not open to the great diversity of humankind - diversity created by God. God is all loving and merciful and cares a great deal for justice. I have trouble understanding this discrimination that causes so much hurt and pain for people who are gay and lesbian." Rev. Marilyn Meeker-Williams, senior pastor of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, Houston, TX, 2005-FEB-12.

copied from
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_umc.htm