Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are complementarians biblical?

Mike Heiser and John Hobbins seem to concur on exegesis. But what exegesis do they agree on? John Hobbins says that he agrees with Mike. He writes,
"I concur with many of Mike Heiser’s exegetical observations."
But what are Mike's exegetical conclusions? He seems to suggest that all arguments are a stalemate at best. Mike cites Dan Wallace who argues that Junia was a woman, and was only known to the apostles, and not among them. However, Mike also cites David Jones, who says that Junia was most likely Junias, and was, in fact, among the apostles. Mike aligns himself with the text, but does not reveal what he believes that the text says. I would like to hear how his view accords with the text.

Mike writes,
I want something that clearly derives from the text and which cannot be coherently defeated on the basis of exegesis.
Having said this, he holds his cards tight to his chest and does not reveal his hand. Both John and Mike indicate that they want an understanding of the scripture which cannot be coherently defeated on the basis of exegesis, but they do not reveal what exactly that is. It is hard to defeat a position which is never stated in clear terms.

Regarding what Junia did, I have never actually discussed that. I think she did what women did in those days, a little of this and a little of that. I do think that she and her husband were partners in ministry and were among the 70 or so who knew Jesus and witnessed to him. I believe that their personal knowledge of Jesus provided them with influence and leadership opportunities. I have no interest in discussing what we do not know, whether Junia preached in front of men or not.

I get the feeling that Mike is saying that he wants a biblical answer, but all points lead to a stalemate.

For me, the different passages do not need to agree with each other. Some verses are not clear to me at all. I know what the words mean, but I can venture no further. However, with Mike, I am absolutely certain that Chloe and Nympha, and the elect lady, were leaders in the house churches. I am positive that Rahab was both protector and provider for her family, as was Lydia. I am absolutely convinced that it is appropriate and godly for a woman to provide and protect, as well as nurture, and it is also permissible for her to be cared for by others as they care for her, or in turn, according to who has resources and strength. I am convinced that women may both lead and follow, may be colleagues and partners without the necessary subordination. I have no doubt about these things.


G said...

I fully concur with Suzanne when she says.
"I am convinced that women may both lead and follow, may be colleagues and partners without the necessary subordination. I have no doubt about these things."

Thanks again Suzanne you made my day.

gengwall said...

"Are complementarians biblical?"

Yes. What bible is another question. Oh, you mean THE bible? Well, then my answer changes to "only when it is convenient".

Dana said...

ISTM that Paul was not as tied up in knots about all this as some people (nearly all of them men) are today.

The demand for certainty about absolutely everything about Christian life is crippling, most especially with interpretation of scripture (and some folks' need to be right and what being wrong, or saying they don't know, means for them). Some things are clear; other things not so much. We seek understanding, and that's good, and we should absolutely stand for what is true - and only God's love never changes. It's so sad that this unchangeable thing is forgotten or even trampled upon.

BTW, you're right, Suzanne, that many in the Orthodox Church believe that the name Junia is a Latinized form of Joanna. Joanna not only saw to Jesus' needs with her money, but was one of the women who cared for his body after his death, and one of those who first saw Jesus resurrected. This group of women is called the Holy Myrrhbearers, and they have their own Sunday of remembrance, the second after Pascha. Orthodoxy is notable for honoring women as "equal to the apostles", meaning that their *preaching* was responsible for the conversion of whole people groups. Mary Magdalen is called The Apostle to the Apostles, because she preached the Resurrected Jesus to them. (I have a hard time believing that she simpered and bowed and scraped as she did so...)

FYI, Orthodox/y or Eastern Orthodox/y is the correct term if one is talking about the Eastern Church in general. "Greek Orthodoxy" isn't anything dogmatically separate, simply Eastern Christianity as linguistically and culturally expressed in/through Greek people. Each ethnic group will express Orthodoxy somewhat differently in some ways, but it's all Orthodoxy. And all Orthodox honor the Holy Myrrhbearers and Mary Magdalen, and Junia as a woman apostle (whether she was Joanna or not).

Thank you for continuing to contend for truth with such an honorable presence. May you be upheld by the life of the Holy Trinity.


Lynne said...

When people question my right, as a woman to be a preacher, my standard response is that the verses from Paul that are often quoted are not nearly as clear as some people think and seem to apply to some particular local situation, but I take my mandate from Jesus sending Mary Magdalene to his male disciples to give them the new teaching that He had risen from the dead. That is enough for me

Anonymous said...

I think comps are ESV-Bible biblical.

Don Johnson

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Mary as proclaimer of Jesus' risen life to the disciples--yes! And also the woman at the well. She went back to town, proclaimed the news and we know what happened after that. Jesus didn't tell her to hush, that's for sure!

Kristen said...

"Biblical" can mean so many things-- and so many times what it means is, "If it was the normative state of affairs in Bible times, that means it was divinely mandated."

I've gotten to where I intensely dislike that word "biblical" because of the way it's used. People ask, "What is the biblical model for this or that?" By which they mean, "How did they do it in the Bible, because we're supposed to blindly imitate that!"

What about what's just, merciful, fair-dealing, or compassionate? It seems those things often take a back seat to whatever the "biblical model" is supposed to be.

Scottie said...

I think "It's biblical" has become quite a weapon. But a silly one. Like someone wielding a tree branch from a fir tree, all floppy, saying, "Stand back, you fools!"