The Harmony of God’s Image

Because of the interest in this article and because of its length I have also made  it available as a pdf for more convenient reading.  This also contains a summary/review of almost 30 different resources on the roles of gender in the church.

Download:  The Harmony of God’s Image


“The longer I look at ‘the patriarch’, the clearer it becomes to me that Rembrandt has done something quite different from letting God pose as the wise old head of a family. It all began with the hands. The two are quite different. The father’s left hand touching the son’s shoulder is strong and muscular. The fingers are spread out and cover a large part of the prodigal son’s shoulder and back. I can see a certain pressure, especially in the thumb. That hand seems not only to touch, but, with its strength, also to hold. Even though there is a gentleness in the way the father’s left hand touches his son, it is not without a firm grip.

“How different is the father’s right hand! This hand does not hold or grasp. It is refined, soft, and very tender. The fingers are close to each other and they have an elegant quality. It lies gently upon the son’s shoulder. It wants to caress, to stroke, and to offer consolation and comfort.”

– Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (in reflection on the Rembrandt painting above)


There are few issues within the church more divisive than determining what role gender plays in leadership, in ministry, and in the assembled church gathering.    The problem is not that the Bible is silent on the gender issue but that Scripture is being used by well intentioned people to silence a gender.  The question of gender roles in the church cannot be answered by plucking a few Scriptures out of the Bible, placing them in an outlined list, and then using them to build a case.    But this is the approach many have taken on both sides of this issue. On many theological issues poor exegesis and bad theology can be overcome by a healthy Christology.

 

When it comes to the debate over gender in the church however, the results of poor exegesis result in much further reaching implications. Why?  Because they  distort, limit, and oppress an expression of God.  It is here that I will begin.  Rather than trying to build a case for or against the various views (egalitarian, complementarian, subordination, etc.), I will seek to dive into the key texts of Scripture and draw conclusions from that study.

To begin to appreciate the fullness of God, Scripture must be approached as a whole before it is dissected into parts.  Both are important but the way and the order in which Scripture is approached can drastically shape conclusions that are drawn.   Arguments that limit the roles of women in the church have typically been built around 4 passages written by the Apostle Paul that will be examined here – 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 3:8-13, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

These arguments often struggle to account for the cultural, situational, and historical context of Paul’s writings.  Even more problematically, these arguments read the other writings of Paul, the Gospels, and the Old Testament strictly through the lens of these four passages.    When approached in this way, these four passages become THE lens through which to see other Scripture.  They are then used as “trump cards” that take precedent over:

1) the words and actions of Jesus

2)  the inclusion of women in the entire narrative of God

3) the nature of God

4) the other writings of Paul

In developing a theology of gender in ministry, I will look at how this works in each of the four major passages that pertain to women’s roles in the ministry of the church.


 

1 Timothy 2:8-15 & 3:8-13 in the Context of Galatians 3:28

1 Timothy 2:8-15 has become one of the most frequently quoted writings of Paul in debating the issue of how women should function within the church.  The reason for this is because it seemingly settles the cultural, situational, and contextual issue by taking the argument for the silence of women all the way back to Creation.   Upon first glance, Paul seems to give precedence to males by referring to the order of Creation (2:13) and the order of deception (2:14).    Culver summarizes the view of many traditional scholars who point out that Eve is thoroughly deceived while Adam is “persuaded by a tie of affection.” (1)   While these scholars acknowledge that Adam was guilty of sin they use Paul to give more weight to Eve’s sin because she apparently is deceived more thoroughly.   The following argument is not to question Paul but to question whether or not this could possibly be Paul’s intended use of his reference to Adam and Eve.  If the conclusion is NO, then we must at least consider further the possibility that it is situational and related to a specific problem in a specific place even if we may not know the exact nature of the problem itself.

The fundamental question then must be explored.   Is Paul truly laying out an argument for silencing women of all churches based upon the fact that Eve sinned first?  This seems unlikely considering that Adam is present when Eve is deceived (Gen. 1:6).  Wouldn’t his passivity be just as sinful?  Because he is there and he partakes of the forbidden fruit, he is not only sinfully passive in leading Eve out of this deception, he is an equal participant in the deception.  The same Paul even names “man” as the means through which sin entered the world.   “Therefore, sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)  There is no confusion about the identity of this “man” because Paul calls him by name (Rom. 5:14) and declares him as the direct avenue through which sin entered the world.    “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Rom. 5:17)   As Marshall points out, Paul’s intent then seems most likely to serve as a reminder for women that, “Eve was not immune to temptation; in fact she sinned before her husband!” (2) Reading it this way helps us see Paul using this story as more of an example than a precedent.   There must be some kind of circumstance Paul is addressing.  To see this more clearly we must explore more deeply.

Paul begins his letter to Timothy by warning against the use of  “endless genealogies” (1 Timothy 1:4).  This may be a clue into the context that he actually is referring to in 2 Timothy 2.  If Christian women are using their newfound freedom in Christ (Gal. 3:28, Gal. 5:1) to excessively exercise their authority, then, as Marshall points out, it makes perfect sense for Paul to remind the women how the genealogy back to Creation points to how even the first woman was not immune to temptation.  (3)  Paul’s letter to the Galatian church is his first letter to a church.  It makes sense then that his message of freedom in Christ probably echoed into the hearts and lives of all who had been oppressed including women.  First century women who had never been given equal opportunity or status are now beginning to hear that through Christ there is no longer a barrier for those who are born as Gentiles, slaves, or women (Gal. 3:28)!   And I believe the inclusion of the Jew/Gentile relationship on this short list is an enormous clue that I will seek to explore further.

Paul starts this list with the inclusion of the Gentiles who were “once far away” according to his own letter to the Ephesian Church (Ephesians 2:13).   So when Paul goes on in Galatians 3:28 to also say there is “neither male nor female” he is applying the same logic.  Women who were treated as “far away” are to be included through Christ!  It was never God’s plan for women to have been excluded any more than it was for Gentiles to be excluded.  The very purpose of Israel was to be a “light to the Gentiles” (Isa. 42:6-7) not an exclusive group. In the same way, God never intended for men to be in some kind of exclusive relationship with him.  But culture seemed to insist over the centuries that men were superior and therefore enjoyed the preference of God.  With that in mind,  it is hard to even imagine just how liberating the letter to the Galatians must have sounded to women!  These were words of freedom that lifted oppression, set captives free, and restored that which God had designed from the beginning!

This also helps us to see a very likely progression.  By the time Paul writes to Timothy, it  is quite likely that women in some of the churches are exercising their newfound freedom but in a way that has progressed into something excessive.  THIS is what Paul appears to be addressing directly with the church at Ephesus when he writes to Timothy.  While we cannot be sure of exactly what abuses are taking place it seems that a clue into this could be how Paul responds to the Gentiles in Rome.   The Gentile Christians also have a newfound freedom and inclusion through Christ.  Paul says they have been “grafted in” to Israel who served as God’s “olive tree” (Rom. 11:17-24).  Paul explains that Israel’s failures result in “broken branches” and that the Gentiles are then grafted into the “nourishing sap of the olive tree” (Rom. 11:17).   Evidently, however, some of the Gentiles have begun to misuse their freedom at the expense of the Jews by saying, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in’”(Rom. 11:19).    It is because of this that Paul issues a stern warning to the Gentiles.  He affirms their freedom but then boldly warns the Gentiles, “Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” (Rom. 11:21)  Would anyone argue that what Paul is doing here is silencing Gentiles for all time?  Of course not!  Instead, this would be seen as a corrective that is addressing a specific problem – arrogance of the Gentiles that is rooted in newfound freedom.  Paul is offering a helpful reminder to the Gentiles that is designed to serve as a corrective rather than a mandate.

This is the same thing Paul is doing with the women being addressed in 1 Timothy 2!    If Galatians 3:28 is partially about the inclusion of the Gentiles then Romans 11 serves as the affirmation of that inclusion and then the warning against its abuse.   Similarly, the part of Galatians 3:28 that abolishes the exclusiveness of males is reinforced in 1 Timothy as an affirmation coupled with a warning.  The affirmation comes in the context of prayer in which Paul asks everyone to pray (2:1) and then affirms inclusivity by appealing to the fact that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all people” (2:6).  It is then that the freedom is coupled with a warning to both the men and women.  Men are warned not be angry or to argue (2:8)Women are warned about how they are using their newfound freedom.  Therefore if women are indeed misusing their freedom in Christ and becoming arrogant like the Gentiles, Paul is issuing the same type of humbling warning he issued to the Gentiles.  This warning expresses itself as a reminder to women that they are not immune to temptation and in fact were just as guilty as men in original sin.  In light of this context, it seems highly unlikely that Paul is issuing an all time mandate that women no longer teach men.  Instead, he appears to be warning them that, if their newfound freedom is leading them to arrogance and autonomy from the men, then they need to stop exercising their authority because it is causing them to sin.  To draw the conclusion from this that women of all times and places could no longer lead men and women publicly in the gathered assembly would then be equivalent to saying that Gentiles could no longer lead because of their arrogance.

Another clue here is the Greek word “authority” which Paul forbids for women to exercise over the men (1 Tim. 2:12).  It is from this very Scripture that many have argued for the permanent silence of women because as Paul argues against authority, he then mandates silence.    The Greek word Paul uses here for authority is authenteo, and it is the only time it is used in the New Testament. (4) While “authority” can clearly be used as a noun to distinguish a designated power structure, it is used here as a verb and can be defined as “one who acts on their own authority” or as an “absolute master.” (5)  If Paul had wanted to say women could never serve as an authority it seems more likely he would have used the noun exousia to have said she can not be in a position of authority.  So Paul is not saying a woman cannot be an authority but she cannot exercise her authority as though she needs no on else.    Women are not to act in their “own authority” but in harmony with others including men.

This leads us to a discussion on the very image of God.  God designed male and female in his own image.  The TNIV renders the more gender inclusive translation: “in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).   Male and female then are unique expressions of the same God.  God expresses a part of himself through a male nature and a part of himself through a female nature.  The harmony of the two gives us the fullness of his three-part yet unified relational nature. Both the male and female are created in the image of God which means they are created in the image of a God who, by very nature, is relational.

Male and female are designed to harmonize together in the same way the Father, Son, and Spirit harmonize. When this does not happen then the fullness of his image is not fully displayed.  As Jewett points out, the fall of mankind displays the “tyranny” of man over woman and represents a “perversion of humanity.” (6)  In the same way, it would be safe to say that a similar perversion would take place if, in the new world of Christianity, women are domineering over men.  Paul wants neither the original “tyranny” nor the current one. Therefore it is brilliant for him to refer back to the Garden as a way of pointing to his current setting.   The fall of mankind was the inverse of what was happening in the new order of Christianity.  The fall resulted in a perversion of gender harmony and Paul uses it to say that the current “tyranny” of gender autonomy is as bad as the first.  Paul wants women and men to express their unique image of God.  The problem in 1 Timothy 2 is that this has somehow become distorted and Paul is issuing a bold warning to the women in that particular situation to stop participating in distorting it.  In order to restore that harmony Paul wants women to more fully harmonize with the men. In order to do that they apparently need to change the way they have been dressing, wearing their hair, and exercising their authority.

In addition, as Paul instructs about how the leadership of the church should be structured in chapter 4 it is assumed that women will lead because they are referred to as deacons (v. 11).  They are to lead respectfully not as “malicious talkers” or as temperamental or untrustworthy (v. 11).  Each of these may be further clues about the temptations that women faced in their struggles to lead autonomously and out of harmony with the men.

How does the above begin to shape a theology of women’s participation in the gathered church today?  To begin, we must stop taking Biblical texts, like the ones mentioned above, out of their context and superimposing them onto our 21st century American culture.  This has, for too long, resulted in Christian women being oppressed.  Still worse, it has not allowed for the fullness of the expression of God’s glory in the church.  Silencing women in the church is a participation in the original curse of a fallen world.  Christ came to redeem that curse (Gal. 3:13) and the church must play a role today in participating in that redemption for all races and all genders just as Galatians 3:28 declares.

If true freedom in Christ is to be accomplished, women must be set free to lead as they are gifted.  Women should be allowed to harmonize with men in all aspects of the church.  If we believe Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28 are truly inspired we must use gender distinction not for limiting women but for allowing both male and female to express their God-given image in their own unique way.  Gender is distinctive but only in that it is a unique expression of God. Women should be encouraged to use their gifts in their feminine expression and men should be encouraged to use their gifts in their masculine expression. Men and women who might have the same gifts can express them in unique ways because of their gender.  When they harmonize those gifts, the splendor of God is seen the beautiful way it was originally intended.


1 Corinthians 11 & 14

The situation in Corinth is a different context and is filled with complexities.  Rather than examining every exegetical issue here, I will look at the key issues and their implications.  Christians living in Corinth are living in the midst of a setting in which one of Paul’s greatest concerns is “becoming all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)    The issue over women in chapter 11 then becomes one of giving up freedom for the sake of winning over others.  Corinth is a large and religiously diverse city and the Christians who live there are in the midst of figuring out how to be faithful to God while upholding their credibility in their society so that they “might save some.”   Paul describes how he gives up his own freedoms in the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 9.  He describes how, “though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Cor. 9:19).

In the church in Corinth, the women are clearly practicing their freedoms in Christ as they have been gifted.  As Paul addresses the role that women are playing in the gathered church he assumes the women are praying and prophesying (11:5).  As Blomberg points out, they are practicing the freedom given them at Pentecost in Acts 2:18 in which both “men and women” will receive the Spirit and the gift of prophecy. (7)  This is not the problem.  The real issue at stake is the impact that this exercise of freedom is having on the church and the surrounding community.  Like 1 Timothy 2, the context is also rooted in prayer.  It is interesting that Paul first addresses the males about their head coverings and then the women about theirs.  Men are not to wear head coverings while praying and prophesying while women are to wear them (11:4-5).

One of the key issues of debate here is Paul’s double use of the word “head.”  He chooses the Greek word kephale to describe the physical head that is to be covered when women pray and prophesy and then also to describe the relationship between Jesus and God and man and woman (11:2-3). While there is debate over the usage of kephale, Cohick connects kephale to Philippians 2:5 to show that Christ is a “form” of God thus showing mutuality rather than subordination.  (8) This reflects then a mutual relationship between male and female.

There is also debate over Paul’s use of “man” and “woman” (11:3-16) because he typically uses aner (man) and gune (woman) to mean husband and wife. (9) The NRSV translates verse 3 as “husband and wife” to refer to headship in marriage.  Paul is clearly addressing some kind of cultural issue in which he wants women perhaps to avoid looking like sophists , adulteresses, or pagan prophetesses. (10) In this discussion however, Paul describes a woman as being the expression of man’s glory in the same way a man is the expression of God’s glory (11:7).  If woman is truly the glory of man, she should be seen as a vital part of the expression of  the harmony between man and woman as has been mentioned earlier.  Once again the implication seems to be that God’s glory is reflected fully in the harmony of male and female.  This harmony is emphasized by Paul as he reminds male and female that “in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman (11:11).”  He seems to put both male and female on an equal ground further by stating, “woman came from man, so also a man is born of a woman “(11:12).

Paul is emphasizing equal responsibility here for male and female to avoid shaming themselves for the sake of those who may be offended in Corinth.  This is clearly cultural.  Paul would have known that even within Judaism long hair was not necessarily a disgrace because those under a Nazirite vow were even forbidden from cutting their hair.  (11)  This shows that Paul’s concern for women’s head coverings would equally be cultural.  The result is that Paul is laying out instructions for male and female by applying a combination of theological and contextual arguments.  Keener emphasizes this in reflecting on the difficult reference Paul makes to angels (11:10) by stating “woman’s future authority over angels should motivate them to use properly their authority over their heads now.”  (12) He goes on to connect this to authority and how Paul is asking women to give up their authority much like he has done “for the common good.” (13)

Paul revisits the role of women again in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 when he once again calls upon them to “remain silent in the churches” (14:34).   Keener points out how this is intended to keep Christians from losing credibility and avoiding conflict in the Roman and Greek cultures who, especially Greek, often looked down upon women speaking at public gatherings. (14)  As Blomberg rightly observes Paul once again uses the same rationale as he does in chapter 11 which are threefold:  “cultural disgrace,” “the universal practice of the churches in Paul’s day,” and “an appeal to creation order.” (15)  Clearly there are things that are disgraceful in some cultures and not in others.  Because women speaking publicly is disgraceful in Corinth, Paul instructs Christian women in Corinth to speak openly in their own homes rather than in the public house church gathering (14:35).  This in no way limits the expression of God’s work in women because a few verses later Paul instructs both “brothers and sisters” to be “eager to prophesy” (14:39).  Instead Paul is stating that, as Campolo puts it,  “domestic problems should be dealt with in private, and that women should not with unseemly behavior abuse the liberties they had gained through Christ.” (16)

I would argue that the implications of a study of the context of 1 Corinthians 11 & 14 on gender in ministry are extremely challenging to the current culture within the church today.  Roles have very interestingly reversed in 21st century America between the culture and the church from what they once were between the church and the city of Corinth.  When it comes to gender inclusion the church has in some ways become like the city of Corinth as it has similarly not been comfortable with women leading.  Meanwhile the outside American culture has become more and more inclusive in allowing women to lead.   Unfortunately, the two seem to be moving in opposite directions.  If we were to apply the same logic that Paul employs to the Corinthian church we would end up drawing the exact opposite conclusion.   Paul is limiting the roles of women in order to keep the church’s voice relevant to the outside world “to win as many as possible.”   If he were writing to American churches today, it seems he would be expanding roles within the church in order to keep from alienating itself from the surrounding culture.  American culture has become less and less tolerant of communities that seek to be exclusive and who are oppressive on the basis of gender, race, or ethnicity.  Therefore the church has set itself up in opposition to its surrounding culture and has in many ways begun to lose its voice.  What would Paul say should be done to “be all things to all men?”  I would argue that he would emphasize letting go of our traditional interpretations and allow women the same freedoms they experience in the culture around them.  Obviously the challenge here is to determine any places where the world’s expression of freedom for male or female might collide with the truths of God’s Word.   This will take a tremendous amount of prayer, wisdom, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit but a church who does so can trust that God will reveal how to navigate through all of these complexities.

In addition, women must be allowed to use their spiritual gifts or they are not being allowed to express themselves in the very way they have been designed by God.  Spiritual gifts are not gender dependent.  As Mickelson points out, “[Paul] never indicates that some gifts are for men and other gifts for women.” (17) When the church limits the role of women today, it also limits the work of God and the Holy Spirit’s expression of gifts that are designed to strengthen, encourage, nurture, and lead within the church.  We can only wonder how much stronger and more effective the church could be if all members, both male and female, were operating out of the full expression of giftedness given to them by God.  It is time for the church to remove the shackles it has placed not just on women but also on the Godhead by “quenching the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19).  When this happens, true freedom can be experienced both for the sake of the church itself and for the sake of the surrounding community.


The Larger Story

If Paul’s writings about women are determined to be situational then it is vital to look at women’s roles through the eyes of Jesus.   The Gospels show Jesus including women in his ministry, being supported by women, and even operating as a teacher to them in the same way he would disciple men.   We begin with inclusion.  There is not room here to detail all of the places where Jesus includes women but he includes even in extreme settings with women who would be considered unworthy (the Samaritan woman in John 4), outcast (the adulteress woman in John 8), and neglected (the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7).  Jesus had no problem accepting the support of women who even funded his ministry as is seen in Luke 8:1-4 as Joanna and Susanna use “their own means” to provide for him.  In Luke 10:38-42 we find perhaps the most compelling evidence of how much Jesus includes woman when he visits the home of Mary and Martha.  As Spangler and Tverberg point out, Mary is described as one who “sat at the Lord’s feet” (10:39), a Jewish idiom that described a disciple who would go to his Rabbi and “sit at his feet.”  (18) Rabbis typically only took males to be their disciples.  Although we typically have focused on 12 male disciples, Jesus’ inclusion of Mary, and the “many women” who are described as following him in Matthew 27:55-56, shows that he did not distinguish based upon gender.

The Gospel story goes further to describe how women are the ones who are with Jesus at the cross (Luke 23:27) when his male disciples have abandoned him and are first to know about and proclaim the resurrection (Luke 24:1-12) as what Mickelson calls “the first evangelists listed in the Gospels.” (19)   As the story continues into the early church, the book of Acts continues to show the roles that women played in the early church.  Luke takes the guesswork out of whether or not women were disciples by including the story of Tabitha who is directly referred to as a not only a disciple but a supreme example of a disciple “who was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36).

Finally, we get to Paul who not only extensively included women but also shows them as equals to men in positions of leadership as is displayed in Romans 16 where we see women listed.  As Mickelson shows, “in no instance is a man mentioned by name for a church office that does not also include women named for that same office.” (20) These women not only assist, they lead as is seen in the way they are described as deacons (Phoebe in Rom. 16:1) and as active in teaching even men (Priscilla in Acts 18:26).  As Osiek and MacDonald describe well, they play an even bigger role in the early church in that they typically host the house churches and serve as patrons in the life of those house churches. (21)

In zooming out further for perspective, we must also look at God’s view of the roles of women in the Old Testament.  Without examining the details of the numerous stories of God’s working with and through the feminine nature, we can clearly conclude that God did not limit his work in the world to men.   As Rebecca Idestrom describes so well in her work, God appointed people like Deborah to lead his chosen people in displaying his glory to the rest of the world and in preparing the world for a Messiah. (22) That Messiah would choose to enter the world through the womb of a woman, surround himself with women, call women into ministry, equip them, and then send them out as “agents of expansion” of God’s Kingdom into the world of the early church.  (23) God would then choose to work with and through women throughout history to display his glory.   As Cheryl Sanders has helps us see, that work has become even more bold in the last 200 years and has continued into our modern day setting.  (24)

If God has worked and continues to work in this way, why has the church today failed to see the splendor in the grand narrative of his use of male and female in harmony?  If the church is founded and centered upon Jesus Christ, why has it failed to see the lengths to which he went to break down the barriers of even gender?  It is time for the church to take a fresh yet ancient look at gender roles in ministry in the life of the Kingdom of God both then and today.  As Elaine Heath suggests, perhaps the church needs some time in the wilderness to begin to figure out how to “surrender the ‘spiritually religious self,’ religious views, old ways, thought patterns, and activities that have become idolatrous substitutes for God in and of themselves.”  (25) Perhaps in the wilderness we might learn to journey together again as male and female in harmony and find ourselves once again in a present reality of the Garden of Eden where male and female once walked with God and harmoniously and intimately displayed and embodied his truest glory.


 

Footnotes:

1 Bonidell Clouse and Robert G. Clouse, Women in Ministry Four Views (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1989), 36

2 Mark Husbands and Timothy Larsen, Women, Ministry And the Gospel: Exploring New Paradigms (Surrey: InterVaristy Press Academic, 2007), 64. 3 Husbands and Larsen, 65.

4 Hayne P. GrifCin and Thomas D. Lea, New American Commentary: 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 1992), 99. 5 Joseph Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), accessed online at http:// www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=831.

6 Paul K. Jewett, Man as Male and Female (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 22.

7 Craig L. Blomberg, The NIV Application Commentary: 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), Amazon Kindle Application Location 4489.

8 Husbands and Larsen, 94. 9 Blomberg , 4519.

9 Blomberg , 4519. 10 Blomberg, 4549.

11 Blomberg, 4579.

12 Craig S. Keener, New Cambridge Bible Commentary: 1-2 Corinthians (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), Amazon Kindle Application Location 1342.

13 Keener, 1342.

14 Keener, 1693.

15 Blomberg, 6285.

16 Tony Campolo and Brian D. Mclaren, Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel (Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Youth Specialties, 2006), 131.

17 Clouse and Clouse, 191.

19 Clouse and Clouse, 187.

20 Clouse and Clouse, 189 21 Margaret Macdonald and Carolyn Osiek. A Woman’s Place: House Churches In Earliest Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 194-219. 22Husbands and Larsen, 17-31.

21 Margaret Macdonald and Carolyn Osiek. A Woman’s Place: House Churches In Earliest Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 194-219.

22Husbands and Larsen, 17-31.

23 Macdonald and Osiek, 220-243.
24 Husbands and Larsen, 200-212.
25 Elaine A. Heath, The Mystic Way of Evangelism, The: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2008), 28.
Post Categories: Discipleship
Comments
  • Rob,
    Thank you for putting so much time into a well thought out, well written and very graceful post. I appreciate your in-depth treatment of the context of these passages and the pastoral way in which you approach their interpretation. We need more people like you who are willing to bridge the gap with theological rationales offered in humility rather than arguments born of fear and defensiveness. Prayers for you and your ministry – can’t wait to come back and visit The Well when I’m in Nashville again!

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