Skip to content

Weaker 2

December 7, 2006

This originally started as a quickie post regarding a “book review of sorts by McKnight”:http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=1723, but due to Jeana’s persistently articulate questions, my next comment back to her would have been a doozy. Hence, a full fledge post. You can read the primer comments in the original post, “Weaker”:http://www.stephscandlehutch.com/hutch/article/weaker.

-A post that will continue later. The girls are up. All hands on deck.-

-Update: Been thinking about this post a lot. But haven’t actually sat down to type it up. Was expecting to do that last night during the middle of the night when Ellie was up. But, whoa, what’s this? She slept a whole bunch and Mommy and Daddy got decent sleep! Praise the Lord. A post can wait. :-)-

Will address:

# Eldredges’ understanding of HelpMeet … *CHECK*
# Response/gut reaction to “What I’ve Been Thinkin’ About…”:http://aprilfolkertsma.blogspot.com/2006/11/what-ive-been-thinkin-about.html *CHECK*
# Word Study of ‘weaker’ from 1 Peter 3:7 … *CHECK*


PART 1

1. Before I get to my response/gut reaction to April’s post about the status of women (in the church), I want to discuss the Eldredges’ understanding of the term ‘help meet’ (KJV) or ‘helper suitable for him’ (NIV, NAS) because I think that is greatly influencing the rest of April’s post.

In classes, study and then even in pre-marital counseling, I discovered (as the Eldredge’s point out) that the word for ‘helper’ in Genesis 2:18 (which describes Eve’s role in relation to Adam) is indeed the same word that is often used of God throughout the Old Testament. So, helper is not meant as an inferior term, but a very positive one. And that was as far as my understanding of the situation went. But given April’s citation of the Eldredges’ understanding of the term (which they put into much stronger language) and “my newly found distrust of their theological work (1st heresy horn)”:http://www.stephscandlehutch.com/hutch/article/let-it-being, I wanted to look into the issue further.

Shock of all shocks, I’m going to go ahead and give my old understanding and the Eldredge’s understanding a *quazi-heresy horn*. Two reasons: (1) overstating the meaning of helper and (2) forgetting about the word in Genesis 2:18 that appears right next to helper.

*1.1* – From April’s post, “What I’ve Been Thinkin’ About…”:http://aprilfolkertsma.blogspot.com/2006/11/what-ive-been-thinkin-about.html

bq. I know Adam was made first and as a result of the Fall he would rule over Eve. But, it also seems that Eve was the crown of God’s creation, created last as the final touch. Created to ‘be as one who saves,’ as that passage should most closely be translated (instead of helpmeet. The Hebrew word used here is used about 20 other times in the OT and each time it is in reference to God when we really need Him. And so it would seem, Eve appeared when Adam really needed her.) These thoughts are not my own, I read them in Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

I take issue with understanding the term helper “as one who saves”. I think the interpretation really should stick with helper; ‘saves’ is a bit too strong of a word picture. Here’s why:

While I am not an expert at the imagery inherent in Hebrew words, I will go off of my concordance and lexicons. The word helper ( _ezer_ ) in Gen 2:18 is used of God multiple times throughout the OT as said above (usually in a shield metaphor as seen in Deut. and Psalms (see Deut 33:29 and Ps 115:9-11)) and a few times of one’s allies (in the prophets, usually in a negative light strangely enough (see Ezek 12:14)). But each time _ezer_ appears in the three major translations I work off of (NAS, NIV and KJV), some form of the word ‘help’ or ‘support’ ends up as the translation. While there is saving imagery (through Hebrew poetry parallelism) in Deut 33:29, that’s about the only place where the concept of ‘saving’ comes through explicitly. The two lexicons I have show as follows:

_Strong’s_ – aid; from _azar_ which is a primitive root: to surround, i.e. protect or aid

_Brown Driver Brigg’s_ – to help , to “succor”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+succor&btnG=Google+Search, one who helps; from _azar_: to help, to “succor”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+succor&btnG=Google+Search, to support

So with the concordance work and the lexicon look ups, I’m going with helper, not ‘one who saves’. Why this distinction matters:

While the saving imagery of God is apparent throughout Scripture, these Hebrew words in question do not bring up saving, but helping. Saving is a rescue, a bringing up out of peril. Helping is supporting, aiding, making better/stronger. Big difference when it comes to understanding a woman’s created role. And again, God takes this helping role Himself, so it is nothing to look down upon.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. There is more to the idea of HelpMeet.

*1.2* – Genesis 2 is the only place in the Old Testament where the word ‘meet’ (KJV) or ‘suitable for him’ (NAS, NIV) ( _neged_ ) appears next to _ezer_. We cannot throw out the second half of the term as the block quote above does. _Neged_ means “in front of, corresponding to, in the sight of, parallel to”. Basically, I’m thinking the ‘corresponding to’ and ‘parallel to’ ideas make the most sense here (the rest of the uses in Genesis are used more as a location thing, not an adjective thing; the word itself is used 150 times total in the OT; I’m not going through every one. ūüôā )

So, we’ve got Eve as a _ezer neged_, a helper/protector who *corresponds to* or is *parallel to* Adam. We should not isolate Eve over Adam, nor should we isolate Adam over Eve (1 Cor 11:11-12). They are on the same level in God’s eyes (and image).

I say all this to make us wary of the Eldredges’ continual push in _Captivating_ to hold woman as the pinnacle of creation, the magnificent completion of the image of God. That’s not to say from a narrative standpoint that Eve was not the last thing created by God; she was. And that’s not to say that woman is not amazing and beautiful and indeed captivating; she is. What I am saying (and “have said before”:http://www.stephscandlehutch.com/hutch/article/let-it-being) is that the image of God is wrapped up _in relationship_, in men and women relating to one another (in creation/dominion as well, but that is for another post). The image of God is not found in just man, or just woman, but in the relationships of them both. All throughout _Wild at Heart_ and _Captivating_ the Eldredges continually ask, What can we learn about God (or the image of God) by looking at man or woman?. But I suggest that’s the wrong question. Better questions are: What can we learn from God in our relationships? How do we emulate God in our relationships?

With this ground work laid, let’s look to April’s post, “What I’ve Been Thinkin’ About…”:http://aprilfolkertsma.blogspot.com/2006/11/what-ive-been-thinkin-about.html

-… (This took all morning to write, with many large pauses in between. More later)-


PART 2

April does not intend to put forth a theological treatise. She puts them forth as “ramblings”, but does say that they are “becoming convictions,” so they are to be taken with sincerity. Since she didn’t make a bullet point of all of her thoughts I will try to refrain from doing so. Little stream of consciousness writing never hurt anybody.

Let me start by saying that obviously April has things in mind when she talks of the repression and relegation of women to ‘secretarial jobs and children’s ministries.’ Not knowing April, I can’t speak too much to her personal experiences, but she works for the Catholic Charities of Oregon, so she is indeed in the midst of social justice work every day (Know a guy, Andrew, who worked for Catholic Charities of Oregon. Great organization). I also see that April has a link to Imago Dei down in Portland, which makes me think that is the church she refers to in her post. Can’t be certain, but her thoughts about the role of women in the church fits the bill so to speak since Imago has veins that run deep back into the Acts 29 network and affiliation with Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll (the premier chauvenist… please note sarcasm and yet the absence of the word ‘chick’). Before I get side tracked into how I think church should be run (because I know everything ūüôā ), let me echo some of April’s sentiments.

It is a shame when church’s do not allow women to help very much simply because they are female. First church I attended, we had a female music leader, ThaÔs. What a gifted woman. Beautiful voice, ability to play, ability to organize and lead. What a blessing that woman is. When I moved to the northwest and found almost no women music leaders, I was floored. I didn’t get it. Even my own church minces words in regards to the leading of music worship. It’s a husband and wife team that run the music realm, and yet the wife’s title is ‘director of music’ while the husband’s title is ‘director of worship’. The funny part is that the woman is the brains behind the operation and is more gifted musically; the husband will often defer (wisely) to his wife during music team practices. But heaven forbid we have a woman lead worship on Sunday morning!!! Never once have I seen a woman lead music at our current church body. (Don’t get me started on my church’s mincing of other titles. Will come into play later actually, now that I think about it).

Moving on, I too agree with April that the physical atrocities she listed are indeed atrocities. Don’t know if I would put the repression of women in American Evangelical churches on the same level, but I understand her sentiment. Those types of things should be stopped by nothing short of Sodom-type fire reigning from heaven on the offenders.

In summary, I too think that women with the giftings to do so, should help out in all facets of the church, save two. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are quite clear that being an elder or deacon is reserved for men only. And this is not a “mostly cultural” scripture as April would seem to imply. That one sticks. That paragraph of April’s also includes the thought from the Eldredge’s regarding the place of woman in the image of God. Not sure where April was going with that paragraph. Since we’ve already discussed that faulty understanding of the image of God, no need to rehash it here. She does mention an interesting thought regarding the Kingdom being here now, that we ‘should try to see outside of the curse of the fall, and therefore past Adam’s rule over Eve.’ Boy, I like that thought in theory, but I just don’t see it aligning with all of Paul’s thoughts in the Corinthian letters regarding the interaction of men and women in marriage. And maybe April doesn’t intend her thought to be applied to marriage, but just instead the church. If that’s the case I go back to my original thought at the top of this incredibly too long paragraph: “I too think that women with the giftings to do so, should help out in all facets of the church, save two. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are quite clear that being an elder or deacon is reserved for men only.” (Will address church organization here in a moment)

On other issues: I agree that (speaking in generalities) the American church needs to show by word _and_ deed the inherent value of woman because she is part of the image of God. April’s point is valid, if we rescue a girl from the evils of sexual enslavement and then communicate somehow that her value to the body of Christ is less than that of a man’s, then we have injured greatly the image of God and have done a great disservice to the church. The one that does that is to be damned (I was going to go all college student on everybody and bust out _anathema_, but I couldn’t remember how to spell it).

Let me now comment on April’s last lengthy paragraph. It’s worth quoting here:

bq. As a woman, I want to stand in my church, I want to stand in my community, I want to stand for my sisters, my neices, my girlfriends, and for ones far off who cannot stand. I also want to stand for my four nephews, who have yet to grow into men. And while I may stand rather quietly, I will stand all the same, as an equal, both in value and in role. I will stand as a woman of prayer, who believes that as the men who lead the church truly seek God, they will come to see that that which was far off has come close, and women are their equals as much as they are their partners. This will be social justice, this will be the voice of the church saying loudly and clearly, “We will not stand for the marginalization or exploitation of _any_ human being.”

Let me break down my thoughts on the above

1. Stand away. Rock on. Let me encourage you to do so. You should and need to.
2. You are equal in value and role (I assume she means in reference to the church, in which case, yes, equal in role save elder/deacon ’cause that’s what the Bible says. I’ll hide behind God on this one).
3. Men should see that women are their equals as well as their partners. That’s biblical.
4. The American church has a jacked up history, no doubt. Heck, just fifty years ago we still had segregated churches (wait, we still do… um…). We have sinned greatly. We have mispresented the name of Christ. I have sinned greatly. I have mispresented the name of Christ. We are fallen indeed. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who saves us from this sin.

Now, to the church org stuff. THUD. Did you hear that? Yeah, that was my soapbox landing firmly in front of you. Here we go. Buckle your seat belts kids.

(This is where I expect disagreement, if it’s not there already. I probably got you with the deacon thing too. Don’t worry, I just discovered the deacon thing myself. No joke. About five minutes ago.)

A lot of the confusion regarding the role of women in church leadership would be greatly cleared up if the church kept the organization and terminology simple. Why can’t they all just listen to me? Life would be so much easier. I digress.

The New Testament does not line out specifics on how church should be run. But I do think the two main offices within a church’s structure were laid out. If modern day churches just stuck with the elder and deacon model in church, things would be a lot easier.

*Elder*: early example found in Acts 6? Devotion to prayer, ministry of the word. By the time we roll around to Acts 20 the elders at the church of Ephesus are to charged to watch over their flocks to make sure evil doctrine does not infiltrate. That seems to be reflected as well in Titus 1:9.

* Conclusion: It would seem that the elder is responsible for the sound doctrine/maintenance of the orthodoxy within the church. Perhaps this is accomplished thru teaching (1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:9, 2 Tim 2:2 ?). Must be men because there are requirements that an elder be a husband of one wife and a good ruler of his household. Elsewhere in Corinthians, Paul clearly outlines the man as the head of the marriage.

*Deacon*: early example found in Acts 6 with the choosing of the seven. In English, the word deacon only appears in 1 Tim 3. However, the Greek word _diakonos_ appears 30 times in the NT, usually translated as minister or servant (in the KJV). Paul uses the term of himself (Eph 3:7, Col 1:23, 25), Tychichus (Eph 6:21), Apollos (1 Cor 3:5) and Timothy (1 Thess 3:2). No idea what the heck a deacon does, outside of the example of Acts 6.

* Conclusion: So, maybe we say that deacons are to run the nuts and bolts issues of the church, so that those who are to focus on protecting the doctrine are free to do so. What those nuts and bolts issues are… determined by each set of elders? Deacons must be men as well, because the same wordage is used of elders as of deacons. I just discovered. Don’t know how many times I’ve read 1 Tim 3, but never saw it before. The churchs I’ve been involved with have always had deaconesses. But 1 Tim 3 makes it clear that there is no biblical grounds for a deaconess.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. Not everyone uses the simple, biblical terminology. There are bishops, reverends, senior pastors, assistant pastors, ‘fill in the blank’ pastors, directors of ‘fill in the blank’, trustee boards, elder boards, deaconesses whose sole function is to fill the tiny little cups with grape juice before services on Sunday.

Here’s what I’m thinking. The elders come together and determine how they are going to watch over the doctrine of the church. Either by one of them teaching (for elders are required to be able to teach) or by them making sure that those who do teach are in line doctrinally. In our latter scenario, I s’pose a woman could preach in church. And if an elder watches over the doctrine of the body _and_ teaches, he is worthy of double honor. The elders also determine what the deacons are responsible for. No reason to think that tasks under the deacons shepherding couldn’t be delegated to women just as well as men. But it is men elders and deacons who are responsible for their respective positions and objectives.

So, what positions are women biblically allowed to hold within a church body? Not elder, not deacon. Everything else: fair game. Can a woman teach in church? Yes, given it works with the way the elders have set things up (this of course assumes a set of elders who understand rightly the role of women within the body of Christ). What about women being silent in church? Go on, somebody ask me. My answer will be in the line of the Lubeckian/Driscoll amalgamated approach. ūüôā

And with that, I step off my soap box for the evening, glad to have had the Word smack me upside the head about how church is to function corporately. Ask, pick, disagree, laud with utmost of praises. Just make sure to comment. And to tip the bar man on the way out.

Part 3 (the word weaker in 1 Peter 3) to follow tomorrow (maybe).


PART 3

Alright, 1 Peter 3:7 says

bq. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone *_weaker_*, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

I think we’ve all made this harder than it needs to be (myself included). To the lexicons and the concordance.

_Strong’s_ – asthenes; strengthless

_Thayer’s_ – weak, infirm, feeble
# universally (Matthew 26:41)
# specifically: contextually, unable to achieve anything great (1 Corinthians 4:10)
# of the body, feeble, sick (Matthew 25:39)

Now for the concordance work.

Alright, with those definitions in mind, we can knock off any concordance references having to do with the body, ’cause me thinks Peter wasn’t talking about the immune systems of wives.

Looking at the remainder of the possible connections (20 total uses of _asthenes_ in the NT, 7 have to do with bodily health), quite a few have to do with spiritual concepts (Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38 – “spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”; Romans 5:6 – “while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ dies for the ungodly”; 1 Cor 1:25 – “the weakness of God is stronger than men”), so we’ll knock out those ’cause they don’t really seem to fit the concept in Peter, talking about the way husbands should treat their wives.

Since it’s late, I’m going to cut to the chase. Me thinks that the best understanding of _asthenes_ in 1 Peter 3:7 is found in (and around) 1 Corinthians 12:22 (Paul uses the same word; I’ll highlight it below). Here’s the context (verses 14-26):

bq. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” _On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be *weaker* are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another._ And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

So there you go. A marriage is like the body of Christ, all parts need each other and serve a great function. To have one without the other, it gets ugly. Women (as we have discussed) are looked down upon and exploited. This sadly can often be the case in marriage. Peter is saying: ‘Hey guys, make sure to treat her as an equal. Since she is a woman, and the women have a rougher go at it (looked down upon and exploited, etc.), make sure you treat her like the fellow child of Christ that she is.

I don’t think Peter was thinking at all about a woman’s physical abilities or emotional state. Or anything else. I think Peter was taking a page from Paul and saying: “and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor… But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”

We’re both in the image of God. And we both make up the image through our marriage relationship. Make sure you treat the relationship and her as such.

And that, boys and girls, is what I think 1 Peter 3:7 is all about.

Advertisements
16 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeana permalink
    December 7, 2006 12:50 pm

    Awesome.

  2. December 7, 2006 2:09 pm

    I have some thoughts on the matter I’d like to share, but I’m going to wait for Hutch to sound off first. Don’t want to take over your blog before you have a chance to sound off; its been hijacked enough lately…

  3. Jeana permalink
    December 8, 2006 2:42 pm

    So far I am fully tracking with you. I especially like/agree with your point about equality and relationship. Looking forward to part 2!

  4. Jeana permalink
    December 9, 2006 9:02 am

    Curiosity again…and maybe kind of a tangent. So…can an elder be single? Also, in Titus 1:6 there is the qualification of having children who believe. Wow…a lot of problems could come there making me wonder if these really are hard and fast requirements.

    Also, regarding women not being deacons—what about Phoebe? Paul introduces her as a servant (same word—diakonos) of the church in Cenchrea in Romans 16:1.

    Finally, a smile for the noted sarcasm and lack of the word “chick”. Also, a smile for the typo: Deacons must also be “mean” in your conclusion under Deacon. Um…that IS a typo right?

    Looking foward to Part 3. I appreciate your study, thoughts, and ambition to wade deeper into the mess.

  5. December 9, 2006 10:06 am

    Jeana,

    From the bottom up. Thanks for the encouragement. This has been a lot of fun. This is the type of stuff I want to get paid to doÖ ūüôā

    Yes, it IS a typo. And itís been fixed nowÖ good eye.

    Re: Pheobe. I got nothing. Iíll come back to her.

    Iíve had this debate with Mike Gurney before. We agreed to disagree I think. I understand the reasoning. What if a great godly man becomes a widower? Is he therefore no longer qualified to be an elder? That seems like an awfully hard line to take on it. Surely Paul just means the character that goes along with being faithful to your wifeÖ

    Let me get out my soapbox again on this. Cause I do take a hard line. Hereís my thoughts: What still applies and what doesnít? How do we determine Paulís mind here? If he calls for specifics, but weíre just looking for principles (like a husband and a good father), do we chuck those and just say that he has to run things well? Run what well, a business? No, the passage says household. What if a man (and is that another thing we can chuck?) is single, all his family has died and he lives alone. What does he run well that would show that he can run the church body? Whereís the principle there if itís not a specific command that is meant to be for all time? Paul makes the point in 1 Tim 3:4-5. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?) Paul makes the argument for us. He doesnít just leave it part of the list, he specifically points out his thought process.

    And what of the not a new convert requirement? Is that just a principle too? So long as the person is mature in faith, they can be an elder? No, Paul says itís a time issue. And it totally should be. To start parsing out which of the list we follow and which we principilize gets a bit dicy.

    So yes, I think they are specific commands to be taken at face value. Regarding Titus 1:6 and children who believe. Yep, I take that one at face value too. I want the men leading me to have been able to pass on the sound doctrine to their own children. Thatís the eldersí job within the confines of the church, why shouldnít he show that he can do that in his own life as well? Is it the dadís fault if a kid chooses not to believe? No, thatís not what Iím saying. Iím just saying that the leaders, the protectors of the faith within in the church need to be the guys that, by the grace of God, have nailed it in their families. And if they donít have families, they donít have a place to prove or model that they have got it down. Elder and deacon are incredibly high callings. The guys that are there need to be way above everybody else in character and deed.

    Imagine it Jeana. A church body run by guys who are great husbands and great dads who are continually being exchanged for other guys in their prime, so that the protectors of the church and faith are always at the top of their game. If I go to Dr. Timís church and heís an elder, and then his wife were to pass away (may it never be!), I donít think he should be an elder anymore. Why? Cause he no longer has a household to run; no longer has a place to prove his character. Iím not saying he still canít be one of the godliest men I know, but heís no longer up to being an elder. Doesnít mean I wouldnít want him as my right hand man for, everything, but he shouldnít be an elder. Cause thatís what it says.

    Itís easier to draw hard lines like this. I recognize that and it could be considered a weakness in my argument. If I stick to my guns about the kids under control with all dignity (1 Tim 3), at what point are the kids no longer part of the elderís household? What if a 22 year old son of an elder goes and jacks his life up? Is the elder to step down? I donít know. Maybe he should. Maybe he should take the time that he would have been devoting to church matters and devote it instead with renewed vigor to loving his son. I donít know. Donít have all the answers.

    And that brings me back to Phoebe. This is a tricky one. I stand by everything Iíve said thus far. I honestly do believe it (but do try to change my thinking. I like being challenged (in a loving, tactful way mind you :-)). But I havenít a clue what to do with Phoebe. Fly in the ointment of my thoughts, if you will. Interpret the hard in light of the difficult. The requirements for deacon in Titus and 1 Tim are much clearer to me than knowing what to do with Phoebe. So, I roll with the easier to understand and say that Iíll ask Jesus now and when I get to heaven. Jesus, what on earth are we make of Phoebe being a diakonos? Is she an anomaly or do I have it wrong? Please let me know through Your Word, Spirit and people.

  6. Jeana permalink
    December 9, 2006 12:06 pm

    I can imagine it, Hutch. And it is my prayer for all men to be great husbands and dads and godly leaders. But I can’t help feel that something is being denied to women, too. I don’t think that by allowing female deacons (I think deaconess is dumb term) and elders we would be taking anything away from the role of men. Like your point before, men and women TOGETHER reflect the image of God. Men and women working TOGETHER as leaders of the church seems to be a truer picture of the bride of Christ. If, because of Jesus, there is no longer slave nor free, greek nor jew, man nor woman, why is there still this big division in what men can do and what women can do?

    Hard lines may be easier to draw…but they also make firm barriers. What if we are actually hindering the church by not allowing women to work alongside men, as equals, in church leadership. Like Gurney, I respectfully agree to disagree with you on this issue. And, I DO respect you and your thoughts. I don’t know all the answers either, but like you I truly enjoy struggling through the swamp and processing the discoveries.

    Other thoughts tumbling in my head (and please excuse me if they come out unclear or seem raw—I haven’t fully studied or processed these yet)You say the positions of elders and deacons are extremely high callings. Does Jesus really give higher and lower callings? Is being a deacon a higher calling than being a mother? If people are not deacons or elders do they have an excuse to have poor characters and ungodly actions? No…because we are ALL called to be stewards. Or servants. Or diakonos. If the church is supposed to be the image of the Kingdom on earth then our church government should reflect that. Elders and deacons do not rule the church. Jesus, the King, does. And his people are his diakonos. Do you see how this presents a problem if we eliminate women from the equation while being the picture of the Kingdom on earth?

    I think this true in all areas of the Christian life. My marriage will be a better picture of Christ and his bride if Jesus is the King of our house…not if Geary is. Yes, Geary needs to be a strong leader and guide(deacon) to his family. But guess what? As his “helpmeet” (aka equal partner)that is my repsonsibility, too (to deacon the family). And my role as a woman is not “under” Geary’s role as a man, but under Christ—just like women in ministry shouldn’t be “under” a deacon’s delegation—because we are ALL under Christ, equally.

    I realize that this sounds like I’m saying that there should just be NO church government because we are all deacons. I’m not saying we need to eliminate the structure—just that the full image of God (men AND women) need to be active in all tiers of the structure.

    Will check back in for the word study on “weaker”. In the mean time, I must go hide from Mark Driscoll.

  7. December 10, 2006 6:33 pm

    Jeana, I’ve been going back and forth on how to respond… I finally decided to leave it simple.

    If you can show me how to be true to Scripture and have women elders and deacons, sign me up. Seriously, walk me thru 1 Tim and Titus and I’ll be on board. I like the thought process and theory, just need to be walked through it.

    As for higher callings, I think elders are. Deacons, maybe not. James says teachers are held to a higher standard, and I can’t remember where, but I do recall it saying that elders have to give an account of the folks in their charge. I can’t recall any such pressures put on deacons.

    Regarding the remainder of what you said: true, true.

  8. Jeana permalink
    December 11, 2006 8:12 am

    That is a fair thing to ask. And a challenging thing. But I accept. I’ll post on my own blog in the next few days and link back to here so that whoever is following this can stay updated.

    One other question: If you’re right and God has set it up so that the positions of elder and deacon can only be filled by men… why? Why did he make it that way? If you agree with the Lubeckian lines of thought regarding women being silent in the church, then I assume you agree with that line of thought regarding women teaching men. So that arguement is out. If you agree that men and women together reflect God’s image and that we are equals in his sight, then the order of creation arguement is out. And lets not even talk about how if women were allowed to be elders then the men would recede so God set this up so that men would be forced out of laziness and into duty. That type of thinking does not ring true with your ideal of men at the top of their game leading the church.

    Okay, I guess, two other questions: What is your response to this quote—”Eldering is something you are and do, not a slot to be filled.”

  9. Jeana permalink
    December 11, 2006 8:20 am

    Regarding Part 3: Amen. And a sentence diagram of the verse shows us that Peter isn’t saying that women ARE weaker…just that they need to be treated with gentleness and tender care.

  10. December 11, 2006 12:44 pm

    Sounds good. Looking forward to the post.

    Re: the why? I think there is a smidge of confusion here. I may have miscommunicated my thoughts on the creation order, etc. God (in Corinthians) clearly says that men and women are equal (1 Cor 11:11-12), however, with that in mind, there is still an order to things (1 Cor 11:3).

    God the Father is the head of Jesus the Son who is head of the man who is the head of the woman (in marriage). Woman is still responsible to submit to Christ regardless of actions of her husband, but in the ideal world, the woman can always submit to her immediate head because ideally he would always be in submission to his head. Doesn’t work like that in reality, but that’s what Paul lays out. From the sound of things, I think you read that differently, so walk me thru how you jive it.

    So, with the elder gig, I would either say that creation order may play into it or it may be a shrug of the shoulders, I’m not sure kinda thing.

    My gut response to the quote you threw out there: “K, I buy that.” Not sure what you were shooting for there response wise, but there’s what you got. ūüôā

    Thanks for the dialogue Jeana. This is good stuff.

  11. Jeana permalink
    December 11, 2006 3:20 pm

    Okay, I can accept that answer on order. I wasn’t looking for any type of response to the quote except an honest one. And maybe wondering in your example about Dr. Tim being an elder if he would still be “doing” eldering even if his wife was gone or his son rebelled…I realize you don’t have the context of the quote, but it came from considering eldership as a lifetime role instead of a position to hold in the church.

  12. Slothboy permalink
    December 11, 2006 4:15 pm

    /peeks his nose in
    //flees

  13. December 14, 2006 6:38 am

    D, you make me laugh.

    Trť, where you at? Thought you said you had some comments regarding all this jazz.

  14. December 14, 2006 5:58 pm

    It’s there. Reader’s should be able to link to my blog by clicking on my name at the bottom of this comment.

  15. December 17, 2006 3:51 am

    Yeah, I had some thoughts, but they weren’t nearly in-depth enough to share company with the thoughts flying around this place…

    Here they are, if you’re still interested:
    (Keep in mind, the context of this reaction was the first, shorter post)
    ————————-

    I have always had a hard time with people who feel that women are weaker because they’re more emotional. Again, Hutch, I’m not attacking you, just frustrated that you and so many others were taught the idea. Anyway, what I believe is this: women are much more emotionally aware (or sensitive) than men are, and this is often interpreted as weakness. That’s poo. Men are no better at controlling emotions, weíre just better at ignoring them. Weíd rather do than feel. Later, this emotional buildup expresses itself as undue aggression during a football or video game, or yelling at the kids, or something else lame and destructive. I’m pretty convinced that the nature of emotions is that they can’t be controlled; our response to them, however, can. Women are more prepared to do this, as they’re more aware of them and better at feeling the full extent of emotions.

    I think, and this is a new thought, that ‘weaker’ refers to their position, not their makeup. What I mean is that men have been placed in authority, as a head of the household. This is not necessarily ‘good,’ as this happened as God was handing out curses after the fall. It is, however, our responsibility to handle this situation well. (Read ‘weaker vessel’ as ‘minor partner’ is a business relationship setting, and you’ll get what I’m saying) We have the responsiblility to treat wives like they are a part of this venture with us.

    Not sure this helps any, just thought I’d throw my two cents in. Or, more fuel on the fire, I’m not sure…

  16. December 21, 2006 4:43 am

    I too, have thoughts that are not as in-depth on this as some have posted. I have been lurking on both this and Jenna’s blog.

    Basically I am with Jenna on this one. I have noticed that if I treat my wife like she is a lesser partner in the relationship (or even vice a versa) the whole relationship says, “Where the heck am I? And what am I doing in this handbasket?”

    Maybe that is not so “biblical” as I would like it to be, but maybe this personal experience can help clarify our interpretation?

    Honestly, I have been following this, but not put much effort into the thought behind it. So just ignore me if I am way off base here. Or not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: