Blogtext: When should woman be silent?

The modern day massacre of the scriptures is never more vociferous than when it comes to the Apostle Paul and his views on women in the church. Pauline ideas are not only severely questioned, the whole of his ministry is frequently rejected or at least ignored. People who on the whole know nothing at all of the bible, the little they know is not infrequently to refer to these ideas seemingly aimed at all women, and therefore belonging to antiquity along with all other forms of slavery.

And it is true: Paul is very adamant that women should not be in authority in the church, that women should not be in authority over men. Even that wives in all humility should be submitted to their husbands. He even makes a note saying that if women behave much like Sarah who deferred to her man Abraham then 'woman shall be saved by the child-bearing'. Making it sound a lot like the mormon church teaching (if still held) that woman cannot be saved unless she is married to a mormon man. (In a later blog I will come back to this issue)

Rarely if ever do these critics even attempt to place Paul's statement back into context. And I do not merely refer to the fact that he addresses these issues to individual churches which obviously had some practices and problems that his letters to Corinth and Galatia and Ephesus address.  Paul is nothing if not schooled well and thoroughly in the phariseic teachings of the Bible. That is, of the Old testament. Beginning there we might well see the very good reasons for the command that women's views should not be allowed to govern the christian church.

Most fundamentally: it was and is the deep understanding of all who know anything of the canonical writings of the former covenant that sin entered the world in a specific manner. Adam had been given the commands regarding life in God's world. Only Adam. He passed that on  to Eve one way or other. She was not entirely sure of the exact wording of it which is seen clearly when Satan in the guise of a belly crawler questions her. His first address was a sly one: "Has God said, that you may not eat of any tree in the garden?"  The answer is given correctly: "No, that is not so, we have only been given one exclusion from the trees of which we may eat. Only the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. The central plant in this paradise." And she added her own understanding: "We may neither  eat of it nor touch it, lest we die."

The counter attack by the serpent is significative. "You are absolutely NOT going to die; in fact God knows that if and when you eat you will suddenly see things clearly and know the difference between good and evil! You will be like gods yourselves." Now, telling Adam and Eve that they who were made in the image of God could possibly become more divine than they already were, should have elicited a vehement and fierce denial in response. But none came. The aesthetic quality of the fruit, the promise of it making you better than you already were, those things tipped the scale for the woman, the "Isha", and she plucked ate and handed fruit to the "Ish".

Unless the command of God is firmly entrenched in our hearts we will follow our eyes and our own understanding, every time. It may be ever so reasonable, ever so good thinking given the initial premises are ignored. And once a lie has been accepted ("God is denying you something by forbidding this fruit,") the next step is all too easy. She took and ate contrary to the command given to Adam.  The effects are immediate. Shame and fear. Hiding from God in the midst of Gods creation, imagining invisibility and non-accountability by ducking out from under God's eyes.

But to no avail. "Adam where are you?"  In deed! The real issue besetting mankind is not the surplus of females who preach to their men, but rather the deafening silence from the men to speak the words of God in order not to hurt the sensibilities of women. That ignorance on behalf of the men also keeps women in the dark and leaves them to believe the lies of the opponent, the accuser, the perpetually deceitful one, the liar from the beginning. 

Here it is: the blueprint for every deceptive religion in the world:

"There is nothing wrong in doing whatever you want"
"Death is only an other name for a better life"
"Being your own judge of right and wrong is the road to maturity"
"If you deny yourself you will never achieve your potential power"
"The consequences of sinning are not less life but more."
"There is no-one who has the right to tell you what is right or wrong."
"You are the god within, there is no God out there."

Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age, Emergent church ad inf..... go on and put the above template on them all and you will see how successful the deception has been and still is. This deception is particularly attractive to women, Paul seems to think. No woman looking at her newborn child with adoring eyes will even for one moment be inclined to agree that 'since Adam we are all like sheep gone astray'. No Mother wants to believe that her child is just another sinner in need of salvation. That is the truth about life that Adam was told: "The day you eat you will die". Eve did not believe it although she remembered it having been told her, or else she would not have eaten the fruit. 

Women have taken over a significant part of the churches. What do they preach? The primary business of the Holy Spirit in the world is to convict mankind of Sin, Judgment and Righteousness. Those topics do not rate high on the feminist agenda that has moved in where men of God have moved out, or been voted out. Therefore the call to repentance and the need for a spiritual new birth are repugnant to the matriarchal prophetesses of the age. Being "Eve's daughters" they insist that the birthing done by them is the only one needed. It is the Father that tells us  that being once born is not enough. The Mother does less so unless she has been taught and filled by the Holy Spirit.

The aesthetic beauty of the temptation is the most powerful tool. If sin was ugly it would never tempt anyone. What are some of the major money making industries in our day and age? Fashion, health products, beauty products and medicines for those in anxiety because they are not good enough as they are, and entertainment to make us forget that life is not a cabaret after all. Add to it the costs in every society for all the effects of our escapism, alcohol, drugs and Losec/Prozac.

Are women more likely to be deceived than men? Paul thinks so, and he has the Word of God on his side. " The woman was deceived". But it was man who sinned, and is to be blamed for the calamitous condition of the world. "By one man Adam, sin entered the world, by One man truth and righteousness are declared and revealed." The true reason for the insistence that it be men who are challenged to stand up before God and teach the whole counsel of God is not on account of their male sexuality, but of their accountability as the sons of Adam. The ministry of reconciliation is placed on that part of mankind which God holds responsible for the presence of sin in the world.

Questions on that?

It has nothing to do with power and authority intrinsic in the men, but the authorisation by God to men to work towards the healing of that which Adam broke in pieces. What was broken by sin? Sin affects and more or less totally ruins the fourfold relationship that mankind has in the beginning. 

1 His trustful, shameless and completely confident relationship to God the Creator, Owner, Lawmaker and Lifegiver.

2 His relationship to the Earth from which he was formed to be the image of the eternal One.The Earth, his source of sustenance, support and sphere of work. Now enemy of the very ground he treads upon. Cursed because of him.

3 To his other self, the "isha" taken and formed out of his own essence and separated from him only in space but not in his manner of life. Two subjects as one unit in two forms. She becomes his object of blame and that is the root of all male objectification of women as seen today in a million ways.(Hebrew male=ish, female=isha)

4 To himself. He can no longer face God so he must find a hide away at every cost. His fears become his food, and therefore tears become the emblem of remorse. But remorse is no good until it becomes repentance. That he will not do lightly. "I am sorry I got caught out, is not the same as I am sorry I did wrong."

These are the effects of the fall. So go on, tell me again that the bible is a myth? The original meaning of myth is 'the truth told in a parable, or story and includes all the salients facts in a readily accessible package'. So  yes, the condensed three opening chapters of the Bible are myth in that sense. But that is not the same as fairy tale. There are no fairies in the real world and certainly not in the word of God. Sin is real and within all of us. No exception ever, except Christ, and Adam before the falling.

Considering the vital part that the Genesis events play in the whole world since then, the insistence of Paul that women should not usurp authority over men is readily understood and quite reasonable. But the missing part of that statement is that it needs the added information: the men are expected to hear, listen and obey the Word of God at every cost. Even to the antagonism of their bosom partners, the loves of their life and the sunshine in their eyes. Put bluntly:

"When what the woman says countermands and rejects what God has given man to remember, obey and perform, then the woman is to be silent in the church." But so is every man who does the same!

That of course presupposes that the 'church' is not merely an opinion-club of men who play at religion. The presupposition for female silence in church is at least threefold:

"The men in question, the ones over whom women must not usurp authority, are living and acting true to the Word and Will of God."

"The things forbidden to be discussed in church are those that belong to the domestic and private domain.The church is called together for the building of the church so that it truly is the body of Christ in the world. It is not a interchange or data-bank for the latest fashion, soap-opera or baking recipe or the prevalence of varicose veins, stretchmarks or gossip about this  and that."

"Where the women comply with the spiritual prerequisites of being born again, knowing the Lord as their own Saviour and God, filled with the Holy Spirit and truth, and who allow the word of God to be a lamp to their feet and the guide of their heart, then they are as licensed to speak as any man who is also likewise."

When you come together, says Paul, each and every one of you has been given gifts by the Holy Spirit for the building up of all. Those who come to the assembly of the saints, the called out ones, are needed for the building of the whole. To claim that the female portion of the church should be silent is utter nonsense if it is taken to mean that they only can contribute without speaking.

What if the men are absent from the assembling together? What if the husbands have abdicated from the role of being the spiritual head of the home? What if men are absent from the discipleship classes of Christ? Should they still rule on the merits of merely being men? Never..

You see the bible shows what happens not only when men refuse to stand up for the Lord but also what happens when 'woman power' is exercised wrongly. The head of the tribe of Judah on his way to the threshing of the corn sees a woman dressed in the classical garb of the temple prostitute (incidentally proving what the religion was in the land of Canaan) and buys her services, not realizing that she is his own daughter in law. He objectifies the woman, the woman uses her sexual prowess to "use" the man. Well-known story, right?

Solomon starts out champion as the wisest man on earth. But then by alliance-marriages with all the daughters of the kings of the surrounding nations he allowed them to come with their false gods, and fell into the trap of idolatry.

King Ahab marries the daughter of Eth-Baal from Sidon and she usurps all authority over him and rules the nation from the bench and bedroom. And the  end result? Total and utter misery for a whole nation. "Everything written beforehand is written for our instruction!"   And would you believe it, that same evil spirit infiltrates the NT church in Thyatira:  "I know your deeds, your love and your faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are more numerous and greater than your first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess (claiming to be inspired),and she teaches and  misleads My bondservants so that they commit (acts of sexual) immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent.. but she would not have it." (Rev 2:18-24 AmpC)

Paul is perfectly justified in his demands that such women do not excercise authority in the church. So is Jesus Christ, the head of the church. It is  this that the apostles warn against and act against. Not the proper ministry of the Spirit of God in  women who are baptised in the same spirit as every man, co-inheritors of the same inheritance and sealed with the same token of the eternal life as every man who is a true child of God.

"I will pour out my Spirit over all flesh and the males and females shall prophecy". "Is God a respecter of person in the giving of His calling and equipment? "Whomsoever God calls, he equips for the calling". To say that this excludes half of the human race is showing a stupidity of gigantic proportion.Whom will God call when those men who are called don't heed? Those of a willing heart, irrespective of whether they are men or women.  Spiritual ministry has no relationship to the sex of the voice. No man is called to the work of an apostle, evangelist, teacher, pastor or prophet because he is male. But because he is a Son of Adam. A sinner saved by grace  and therefore a servant of the ministry of reconciliation.

Where men are absent God will not leave his flock shepherdless but involve a shepherdess. To leave the flock drifting without leadership because the only available one happens to be in female form would be God allowing orphans and the lost children to succumb to the wiles of the world without a flicker of concern. If God did that then he would break his own commandments. He does not.
"The villages were without leaders until you Deborah stood up as a mother in Israel"

"I am looking for a man to stand in the breach, but I found none"
If women think that the ministry is a job up for grabs by the brashest and most power-hungry, then they are as misguided about servant-hood as the men are who similarly believe themselves to be suitable because they happen to be men. The proportions of female/male in leadership are to be determined not by quotas of sex but by suitability on account of calling and equipment and ability to do the work of the leadership of the church of Christ. The chief shepherd knows the need of the church. The denomination may not.

Those who do not know either God or the Scriptures have no business standing in any pulpit, irrespective of their theological training, sex appeal or leadership ambitions.

By their fruits you will know them. Not by their genitals.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster January 16th 2018


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