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Biblical and Theological Studies

This is the fourth in a series of posts on the concept of headship in the Christian church and community. The articles will offer a clear outline and critique of the headship practice and system and will further explore the consequences of headship on men, women, relationships, the church, and the broader world. Catch up with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 5. In the first three segments of this series, I outlined some of the functions of “headship” in American evangelicalism—especially as it functions in “complementarianism.” In this post, I will step back and identify where headship ideology went wrong in its attempt to make sense of the biblical teaching. My primary focus will be on theological methodology. This is no easy task since i... Read more
In studying the Old Testament, we uncover the unmistakable narratives of women who took leadership and teaching roles among God’s people. Deborah, Miriam, and Huldah stand out as impressive examples of these OT women leaders. Similarly, in the earliest days of the Christian church, women were teaching and proclaiming Christian doctrine to men. Anna, Priscilla, and Mary were listed as outstanding among the apostles (Junia). Women even prophesied before the congregation of God’s people (the daughters of Phillip). Do these women have counterparts in the church today? And is the husband really meant to be an authority over his wife? Is that supported by Scripture? Or does God intend for husbands and wives to be co-leaders of their families and households? These are the questi... Read more
This is a shortened version of the article "Upon the Ground of Men." The full piece first appeared as a blog article at Searching Together: speaking the truth in love.  A multitude of Bible translations exists, each with their own interpretation of what the biblical authors "felt" or "thought" was most important. Therefore,we must be diligent, so that when we discover a bias that has changed the meaning from the Greek word so that it implicates something other than the intent of the original author, we then perk up our ears to discover the truth. The basic Greek word for "humanity" is "anthropos." This is a gender-inclusive word. In many translations, "anthropos" (singular) and "anthropoi" (plural) are tr... Read more
As I noted in my previous post, the resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the inauguration of the New Covenant. Depending on which theologian you read, one might say this “inauguration” period reached its peak with Pentecost, the day when the promised Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2). Whatever the case, Christians today—generally since the time of Christ—are living in the age of the “New Covenant.” Being “new,” the New Covenant is different from the “Old Covenant,” which (again, depending on theology or context) may refer to the Mosaic covenant, or all of the covenantal administrations prior to Christ (e.g., Abrahamic, Davidic, etc.). For simplicity and convenience, most Christians typically refer to the “Old Co... Read more
Lynn Anderson’s book, They Smell Like Sheep is an excellent resource for pastors and elders. Anderson describes the “essence of spiritual leadership” as “sheep following a shepherd because they know and trust him. This kind of trust and allegiance can be gained only one way—by a shepherd touching his sheep, carrying them, handling them, tending them, feeding them—to the extent that he smells like them” (p. 17). The book as a whole is wonderful, but I want to look closely at his discussion on authority in regard to leaders. Below is an excerpted and adapted summarization of chapter 13 from his book: The King James Bible translates 1Timothy 3:1, “If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” Biblically speaking, bi... Read more
In Part 1 and Part 2, I introduced why Alastair Roberts' view that an all-male "warrior priesthood" is essential is both non-biblical and illogical and looked specifically at the context of this in the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. Today, we examine how the Bible supports unity and mutuality among men and women, which can only be fully restored in Jesus Christ. Unity and Mutuality, Not Male Dominance, the Core of Biblical Anthropology Therefore, the idea of “Man is created to be the authoritative leader, woman as his submissive assistant” is foreign to these texts, and has to be read into them from another source by those who hold to this idea.[1]  Nor do these texts in any way support the concept of a masculine leadership, wherein aggression and t... Read more
Last week, I introduced why Alastair Roberts' view that an all-male "warrior priesthood" is essential is both non-biblical and illogical. Now we turn our attention specifically to Genesis 1 and 2. The True Teaching of Genesis 1 and 2 Some interpreters speak of “two creation accounts” in Genesis 1-2.  My own view is that Genesis 1:1-2:4 is a chronological, though somewhat abbreviated historical account of creation, in which certain key events are highlighted.[1]  Furthermore, I understand that Genesis 2:5-3:24 as a further elaboration and clarification of all that happened during “Day Six”, with a flashback in 2:5-24 to what occurred before God gave Adam and Eve the “cultural mandate” of Gen. 1:28, and then a review and expla... Read more
The next issue of Priscilla Papers, themed "Old Testament Women" is coming out in early November! Here are just some of the features you'll find in this upcoming edition: From “The Genesis of Equality, Part 1,” by Kevin Giles In addition to the command to subdue and rule the earth, man and woman are together commanded to “be fruitful and multiply.” No mention is made of any separation of roles in being “fruitful.” Ruling and procreating are roles or functions given to men and women alike in God’s good creation. Thus what we have in this primary and definitive scriptural comment on the sexes is the strongest imaginable affirmation of the equal status of man and woman (“in the image of God he created them”),... Read more
A recent blog post by Alastair Roberts, “Why a Masculine Priesthood is Essential,” has recently stirred up fresh controversy and heated debate among egalitarians and hierarchical complementarians regarding the nature of Christian ministry and leadership, due to the promotion of his unique model of “masculine priesthood” which goes beyond the usual concept of a “male priesthood” to that of a warrior priesthood.  Such is the confidence of Mr. Roberts in the arguments of his presentation that he asserts: “I believe that opposition to women in priesthood should not merely arise from the interpretation of a few isolated verses, but that it springs up from the very core of biblical anthropology, something that is reaffirmed throughout the biblical n... Read more
In previous posts, we saw that, for Paul, discipleship to Christ is more fundamental than marital status, gender identity, or family relationships. In the book of Luke, we are given a glimpse of Jesus’s view of marriage, singleness, and family as well. In Luke 10 (all biblical references are to the NIV) we read: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,... Read more