Friday, June 03, 2011

Origen on Phoebe

Daniel Kirk has blogged briefly about Origen's commentary on Romans 16:1-2,

Romans 16:1-2 reads:

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is also a minister of the church at Cenchreae: that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and that you help her in whatever matter in which she may have need of you. For she has been a helper of many, including myself.”

Upon which Origen commented as follows:

This passage teaches with apostolic authority that women are likewise appointed to the ministry of the church. (Origen, Comm. Rom. 10.17.2)

I responded with this comment,

I think it is likely that prostatis refers back to ezer in Genesis, although that is translated as beothos.

What is really interesting is that Christ was addressed as prostates and boethos in Clement. These two words βοηθος and πρστατης are used as titles for Christ alongside “saviour” and “high priest.” Here is how the words were used in 1 Clement 36:1.

Αυτη η οδος, αγαπητοι, εν η ευρομεν το σωτεριον ημων, Ιησουν Χρστον, τον αρχιερεα των προσφορων ημων, τον προστατην και βοηθον της ασθενειας ημων.

This is the way, beloved, in which we found our salvation; even Jesus Christ, the high priest of our oblations, the champion and defender of our weakness. tr. Charles Hoole 1885
This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High priest of our offerings, the Guardian and Helper of our J. B. Lightfoot.

Along with examples of women as an apostle and prophet, I fail to find that the scriptures place women beneath men in the church.

Here is an article I wrote a couple of years ago on this topic.


Donald Johnson said...

I see prostatis as a synonym for elder, and one that is often missed.

Kristen said...

Grrr! The conversation over there on Kirk's blog was infuriating! (Not Kirk himself, of course, but one of the patriarchalist commenters.)

Since we are women, we are to sit and listen quietly to whatever our massahs tell us, swallow meekly whatever we're told to believe, and fulfill our proper function as their servants and possessions.

I hate, hate, hate being dismissed, belittled, disrespected, disregarded, and shut down. By a man who thinks he's got a corner on the truth and all he has to do is explain to me in his fatherly fashion how wrong I am to rebel against my proper role of kissing his feet and liking it. Brrrr.

Sorry, Suzanne, but I needed somewhere to vent. It's probably a good thing Kirk shut down the comments, because that guy would have gotten an earful from me-- and it would have just confirmed in his mind what a rebellious uppity female I am. I wonder how he'd like having done to him what he does to women?

Unknown Poster said...


Eve and all women were made to be helpers to men, who were created first and foremost in the image of God. Because your kind were (and are still) susceptible to satan's deception, you were cursed by God to forever attempt to control, manipulate and use men. Therefore, women have never been ordained to hold positions of authority in God's covenant economy.

Women are not to speak in church (1 Corinthians 14:33-35), or teach or have authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12). Case Closed.

Repent of your wicked desires and your idolatry of post-modernity and embrace your role as submissive helpers to men in the building of God's kingdom and get back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

Mabel said...

Jackson, this one is for you:

Donald Johnson said...


Shame on you for taking verses out of context.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Sandwiches on me any time! :)

Kristen said...

Since I'm pretty sure Mr. Jackson was joking, I'll respond in kind.

White or wheat? Roast beef or ham? Be careful when you eat it though, because I'm a rebel and therefore a witch, and I'm almost certainly going to cast a controlling spell on it while I'm in my proper place-- barefoot in the kitchen, chained to the stove.

Charis said...

Skimmed the comments over there. Gene was amusing :)

Interesting how he uses Dr. Laura to support his ideas. I just read a quote from Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen about Dr. Laura's themes:

QUOTE: In various chapters she [Dr. Laura] shares case studies of women's "stupid attachment", "stupid devotion" and "stupid subjugation" at different times in the life cycle, and men's corresponding "stupid ambition", "stupid strength" and "stupid independence" {source}

Yep, men and women are different.

Gene appears to covet a version of "stupid independence" from feminine input. Hopefully he fails at finding a doormat woman for the "stupid subjugation" role.

Dana said...

In its great devotional prayer-poems, the Akathists, "Champion Leader" refers not only to Jesus, but to his Mother. The first Akathist, composed in the mid-6th C. and the pattern for all that followed, begins, "To thee, Champion Leader, we thy flock dedicate a feast of victory..." and is in praise of Mary's role in salvation history.

I knew it was a phrase from the OT, but didn't know how to look for it until this post/article. Thanks, Suzanne.


Lin said...

"Eve and all women were made to be helpers to men, who were created first and foremost in the image of God. Because your kind were (and are still) susceptible to satan's deception, you were cursed by God to forever attempt to control, manipulate and use men. Therefore, women have never been ordained to hold positions of authority in God's covenant economy."

So what these guys are really saying is that the Cross was not enough for women to overcome deception, etc.

CD-Host said...

Hmm .... well off of Kristin's comments here I read that thread.

Gene came off sounding much more like someone in the patriarchy movement (women should be submissive in the home, in society at large and at church) than just complementarian movement (women submissive at home and in church). I'm seeing more and more of the patriarchs identifying with complementarian writers and like Grudam when 3-4 years ago they consider people like Grudam liberal heretics part of the broad wasteland of neo-evangelicals. So I'll ask the question here. I know that C.J. Mahaney has been doing a bunch of outreach both left and right to build a broader coalition. Wonder if he was successful?

So, is that recognition is going both ways or is this all one way? Are you all seeing any Doug Phillips, William Einwechter, Scott Brown, quotes showing up from complementarians / CBMW? Any explicit endorsement of Rushdooney? What about Quiverfull?

Theologically, except on baptism they are fairly close and I know that Grudam and Piper are liberal on the distinctive of baptism. I would have thought politics (Constitution party vs. Republican party), social class.. would have kept these groups eyeing each other across the room. Oh well score one for Mahaney.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I think there is a certain amount of consolidating going on. I have to think about examples.

CD-Host said...

Suzanne --

So you smelled it with Gene too? He just didn't feel right.

It will be interesting how they resolve some of these underlying contradictions between these groups. Maybe they put it together on the courtship, and homeschooling.... issues. Driscoll has even started preaching on courtship but ...

It seems to me the whole direction of "new calvinism" is to reach more broadly into evangelical society. Once you start creating a church focused on courtship dating, young marriage, large of kids, home schooling you are going to be forced into being in a narrow niche.

Which is essentially the class issues... Grudam for example is a professor educated at Harvard and Cambridge, taught at Westminster. I just can't believe they wouldn't detest him if they were actually reading him rather than hearing about him. Don't get me wrong given his resume I think Grudam is remarkably unimpressive but, compared to a Doug Phillips?

Maybe on history they could build a common foundation. Both sides like creating a mytho history of how much better the world was before women got uppity.

I guess we'll find out.

Suzanne said...

I have no comment on "Gene." He is a private unknown person.

However, you may find this line up interesting.

Voddie Baucham is definitely in the patriarchy movement, but some of the others are not so much. However, they must have something in common.

CD-Host said...

That is Mahaney's organization. Looked more like a right/left list to me than a focus on women's issues. This diverges too much on women's issues. Baucham's practices (like assigning a family as a cover to adult single women) have been specifically denounced by Driscoll.

Dever unquestionably has been aiming to break the right 10% off of evangelical churches and merge with the left 1/2 of Fundamentalism. I can link off to a bunch of talks on that. The killer issue is secondary separation and by including people like Driscoll there is no question they are standing firm in their rejection of secondary separation.

I can see Baucham's reason for joining. He's been trying to get a platform for Patriarchy in the left wing of Fundamentalism, distancing himself from Vision Forum. This is even arguably better where he might cross the Fundamentalist / Evangelical divide on matters of practice. Baucham I think is just trying to push the bar right on what is acceptable with Evangelical Christianity. Though its weird because you have a lot of women appearing there with divinity degrees.

From Mahaney's perspective Baucham might be a safe way to try and bring in Patriarchy, which is defacto what SGM generally practices, without risking bringing in Kinism. In general he might be picturing a broad structure sort of the way SGM works itself: a moderate to right wing evangelical group of people that are lightly involved, and a coalition of right evangelical left fundamentalist core membership. Discipline is only practiced on the core so most members don't see it. The core membership practices secondary separation while belonging to a church which doesn't practice primary? Anyway they are rather interesting in their particular cultic tactics: SGM and demotivational methods.

This is less extreme than the structure at fundamentalist churches when the bulk of the membership, lives an almost secular lifestyle and then heads to a church where they hear about the evils of watching mixed dancing on television.

Of course I'm not sure where Baucham stands on secondary separation. James MacDonald is a leader in young fundamentalism, so he's in favor, but then he's at the conference and clearly trying to act as a gateway for Mahaney.

I'm not sure what Al Mohler and that contingent is trying to get out of the whole thing. You even have people like Carson so even ESVonlyism doesn't bond them together.

Given how broad this group is, I'm tempted to think I'm just being too skeptical and the gospel is about the only thing this group can agree on.

Here is a link to summary articles:

Most inside the fundamentalist camp still see

Different understanding of and practice of separation
Different degree of openness to continuationism
Different approach to culture

as being an insurmountable barrier