Friday, August 17, 2012

Beauty in Submission- pt. 1





Will be commenting on recent folks continuing to blur the distinctions in role playing.  Will not be commenting on the radical feminism of Raelism pictured above (though they have some good points). 
But will be commenting on the softer feminism  held by Rachel Held Evans  and the not so keen stuff of Leslie Keeney .  Those who fail to see the beauty in submission.
But will first comment on the recent blurring of distinctions by the Christian Missionary Alliance in Canada-
Last month the Canadian Missionary Alliance elected a new President at Assembly.  And summarily approved Ordination of Women.  Presumably in the  hope of producing a ‘beautiful egalitarian society’ .  A movement which is said to have had quite the opposite effect  by The Gospel Coalition here .
So let’s take a look at this new President’s argument for endorsing the ordination of women.  President David Hearn published his position paper here
Hearn starts from the argument of uncertainty- ‘Did God really say that women are not to be ordained?’   Then proceeds to suggest that-
1)   since two prominent scholars cannot convince each other about God’s intention- that it ‘might actually be safe to endorse the ordination of women’. 
2)    and to suggest that the founder of the CMA denomination ‘might even have championed the ordaining of women’. 
Hearn then attempts to dispel fears by suggesting that ordaining women ‘might not actually be a slippery slope after all’. 
Yep, a whole lot of might’s there.   A whole bunch of non-sequiturs.  And a whole bunch of arguments… from silence. 
Unless of course, you grant Hearn’s appeal to Acts 15 [primarily an account of the very first church council].  A passage cited as proof that women are “also endowed with the Holy Spirit”.   
Yet this was not the issue of that particular council.  Nor was it the only qualification that ancient councils made for elders (see Titus 1).  Indeed, even the first-century council cited in Didascalia demanded elders to ‘be over 50 years old and have a beard’-  a qualification that many women struggle with :)
Hearn then rebukes those who might impose “preconceived notions on how the Holy Spirit might operate”.  I guess I’ll have to consider myself rebuked then- since I have numerous preconceived notions on how the Holy Spirit actually operates (and is supposed to operate) from both the Old and the New Testament.   And as Martin Luther said, ‘to discard such notions is neither safe nor wise’.
Hearn then gives two examples of where ordination of women did not lead down a slippery slope.  Yet Hearn is silent on the far more numerous recent examples where it has in fact led to the denominations virtual demise.  And has led to gross unholiness.
Yet my concern is hardly of “the emasculation of the church”, as Hearn suggests.
My concern remains a case of granting that which the Bible does not grant.  And especially granting that which the Bible insists we do NOT grant.  My concern remains a case of granting headship to women.   
A granting which Peter and Paul refused to do for various reasons.  Reasons which are currently not being addressed.  Reasons which are certainly not politically correct.  Reasons which we will pursue in the next post.
However, Hearn insists that we are ‘not actually conferring headship’.  Insists that we are merely ‘acknowledging special gifts’.  Merely giving women a bigger pat on the head.  And shielding their head from congregational criticism. 
Yet, this sure looks like a headship issue to me.  It sure looks like a ‘moving of the ancient boundary stones’ to me.  Looks like a departure from Biblical Man and Womanhood.  A position that I thought CMA tacitly endorsed.
So let’s take a look at what  "ordination actually does" in the CMA.  Let’s look at a paper published by the previous president of CMA.  His interpretation paper of a year previous.
Here we see that this ordination is an endorsement of “lifelong service”.  That those who are ordained are “set apart”.  Set apart for “guiding the church”.  Sure looks like headship to me.  Kinda like a shepherd… for life!
Now perhaps the greatest issue I have with this former President’s contentions is that “ordination does not confer authority over others”.  As if shepherds do not confer authority over sheep.  As if elders do not confer authority over others at council meetings.    
Yet we see from this very first church council in Jerusalem (the Acts 15 passage in question) that ordained elders/πρεσβυτέρων  do in fact confer authority and should in fact confer authority.  Just how the former President overlooks this historical conferring confuses me. 
However, let’s get to the confusing position of Rachel Held Evans: 
Rachel rightly recognizes the temporal curse (Genesis 3:16) of women desiring to usurp the headship of man.  However, Rachel objects to the “manly language of power” coming from the renowned Jared Wilson.  And suggests that this manly power over women is ‘not the intention of God… even though it was a curse from God’.  That ‘equality is the actual intention of God’.  And that this ‘gender inequality is to be rectified’.  And I actually agree… but not rectified in this life. 
Which is to say, that until our re-creation in the next life- there is a certain created order to be observed.  A certain role to be played... and all women know it!  And I expect to show how the feminist Christians For Biblical Equality  will not 'put their mammaries where their mouth is' in a subsequent post.
But continuing on, Leslie Keeney has a similar argument: 
That the subordination of the Son was just a ‘temporal aberration’.  That He is ‘not necessarily subordinate any longer’.  No longer subordinate ‘since he was re-instated’ to sit at the right hand of God the Father. 
And that women should not necessarily be subordinate any longer if  this ‘merely speculative’ Trinitarian analogy doesn’t hold. That there is ‘no necessary order’ then.   That there is no necessary role playing then.  That women should ‘stand just as tall as any man then’.
Yet, the Son still does NOT stand beside the right hand of God the Father, dear readers.  And the Son was certainly NOT ‘re-instated’ to Godhood.  The Son remains God and we remain human.  And thankfully, the Son will continue to intercede with the Father on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25).  The Son will continue to be sub-ordinate for His believers … “forever”.  Now what sort of ‘temporal aberration’ of subordination is that, Leslie?
Now, the somewhat confusing Michael Bird is entirely right in Keeney’s citation as well, that "the Trinitarian argument need not be appealed to".  But what Keeney is remarkably silent on- is that this "argument need not be appealed to" because different arguments are so clearly stated elsewhere in scripture.  So that no Trinitarian “trump card” is actually required to disprove egalitarianism.
Which begs the question, ‘Why do these women and sympathizers fail to deal with the numerous passages elsewhere’? 

Deal with the numerous admonitions of Peter?
Deal with the numerous admonitions of Paul?
Deal with the numerous precepts, precedents and principles evident in scripture?  
Or even deal with the scriptural meaning of the word submit?

BDAG

ὑποτάσσω 1 aor. ὑπέταξα. Pass.: 2 fut. ὑποταγήσομαι; 2 aor. ὑπετάγην; perf. ὑποτέταγμαι (Aristot., Polyb.+)

1. to cause to be in a submissive relationship, to subject, to subordinate

a. act., abs. Ro 8:20b; 1 Cl 2:1b. τινά bring someone to subjection (Herodian 7, 2, 9) IPol 2:1. τινί τινα or τι someone or someth. to someone (Epict. 4, 12, 12 of God ὑπ. τί τινι; cp. Da 11:39 Theod.; TestJud 21:2; ApcSed 6:2; SibOr fgm. 3, 12; Ar. [Milne 76, 49]; Menander Eph.: 783 fgm. 1, 119 Jac. [in Jos., C. Ap. 1, 119]; Just., A I, 49, 7, A II 5, 2.—Cp. ὑπέταξεν ἑαυτοῦ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοὺς Πάρθους Hippol., Ref. 9, 16, 4) 1 Cor 15:27c, 28c; Phil 3:21; Hb 2:5, 8b; Dg 10:2; Hm 12, 4, 2; AcPl Ha 8, 15. In the same sense ὑπ. τι ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας τινός 1 Cor 15:27a; Eph 1:22; also ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν τινος Hb 2:8a (Ps 8:7). ὑποτάσσειν ἑαυτόν τινι subject oneself to someone (Plut., Mor. 142e to the husband; Simplicius In Epict. p. 33 Düb. to transcendent powers) Hs 9, 22, 3.

b. pass.

α. become subject τινί to a pers. or a state of being (Iren. 5, 5, 2 [Harv. II 332, 11]) Ro 8:20a; 1 Cor 15:28a; Hb 2:8c; 1 Pt 3:22; Dg 7:2; Pol 2:1. Abs. (Diod. S. 1, 55, 10; Aristobulus in Eus., PE 8, 10, 10 [=p. 140 Holladay] πάνθ᾽ ὑποτέτακται; Just., D. 85, 2 νικᾶται καὶ ὑποτάσσεται [Ath. 18, 2]; Iren. 1, 13, 4 [Harv. I 120, 7]) 1 Cor 15:27b.

β. subject oneself, be subjected or subordinated, obey abs. (Jos., Bell. 4, 175) Ro 13:5; 1 Cor 14:34 (cp. δουλεύετε ἀλλήλοις Gal 5:13); 1 Cl 2:1a; 57:2. Of submission involving recognition of an ordered structure, w. dat. of the entity to whom/which appropriate respect is shown (Palaeph. 38 p. 56, 15; 57, 2): toward a husband (s. Ps.-Callisth. 1, 22, 4 πρέπον ἐστὶ τὴν γυναῖκα τῷ ἀνδρὶ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, s. 1a above; cp. SEG 26, 1717, 26 [III/IV AD] in a love charm) Eph 5:22 v.l.; Col 3:18; Tit 2:5; 1 Pt 3:1 (on an alleged impv. sense s. Schwyzer II 407), 5; parents Lk 2:51; masters Tit 2:9; 1 Pt 2:18; B 19:7; D 4:11; secular authorities (1 Ch 29:24; Theoph. Ant. 1, 11 [p. 82, 14]) Ro 13:1 (CMorrison, The Powers That Be—Ro 13:1-13, diss. Basel ’56; EBarnikol, TU 77, ’61, 65-133 [non-Pauline]); Tit 3:1; 1 Pt 2:13; 1 Cl 61:1; church officials 1 Cl 1:3; 57:1; IEph 2:2; IMg 2; 13:2; ITr 2:1f; 13:2; IPol 6:1; Pol 5:3; νεώτεροι ὑποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις 1 Pt 5:5. To God (Epict. 3, 24, 65 τ. θεῷ ὑποτεταγμένος; 4, 12, 11; Ps 61:2 ; 2 Macc 9:12) 1 Cor 15:28b; Hb 12:9; Js 4:7; 1 Cl 20:1; IEph 5:3; to Christ Eph 5:24. To the will of God, the law, etc. Ro 8:7; 10:3; 1 Cl 34:5; Hm 12, 5, 1; τῇ ἐπιθυμίᾳ τῇ ἀγαθῇ 12, 2, 5.—Of submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love 1 Cor 16:16; Eph 5:21; 1 Pt 5:5b v.l.; 1 Cl 38:1.—The evil spirits must be subject to the disciples whom Jesus sends out Lk 10:17, 20. Likew. the prophetic spirits must be subject to the prophets in whom they dwell 1 Cor 14:32.—HMerklein, Studien zu Jesus und Paulus (WUNT 105) ’98, 405-37.

Rather than appealing to the unscriptural usage of the word submit-

2. to add a document at the end of another document, attach, append, subjoin (common in official documents, hence oft. ins, pap; also s. Jos., Vi. 364, Ant. 16, 161; Just., A I, 68, 4; Mel., HE 4, 26, 14) the letters of Ign. ὑποτεταγμέναι εἰσὶν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ ταύτῃ Pol 13:2.—M-M. EDNT. TW. Spicq.

But let’s look at the basis for role-playing in our next post.  Back to Genesis.