Volume. XXII, No. 16
Sunday, 14 October 2007

From the Pastors Heart: Biblical Womanhood and Biblical Leadership (Part 2)

We are told not to use any explicit word showing masculinity in general statements.  Thus, the word man does not represent human beings any longer, but “person” has replaced “man.”  Feminists talk about personhood, but not much about womanhood.  A politically oriented meaning of equality has expunged the value and meaning of womanhood.  Thus, everybody seems to concentrate on what it means to be a person.  Feminism may want our attention, but femininity is not in our sight anymore.  Femininity is something that we are not supposed to talk about too much, because it may degrade women from their authority and power.  The word equality has silenced the whole society from talking about the differences between men and women, not only in biology, but also in their roles.  It is very difficult to understand why some people do not want to admit that men and women are from different stars.  You know what I mean.  Any talk about differences between men and women brings us charges of sexism or chauvinism.  Virginia Ramey Mollenkott at the Evangelical Women’s Caucus, Washington, D.C., November 1975, said that her task was to attempt to interpret the Bible in a fashion favourable to the cause of equality, while she was speaking on “A Biblical Approach to Feminism.”  In this sexually strange age (she becomes he, and vice versa; a coined word, shim (she + him)), it may be strange to talk about manhood and womanhood.  However, God made man and woman as sexual beings.  Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.”  Their union is even described as a mystery in Ephesians 5:32.  Equality does not make man and woman the same kind.  Women’s femininity is not just social and cultural conditioning.  Womanhood or femininity is not something that man has created to oppress his counterpart.  God made Eve out of Adam, and she became his help-mate, without whom Adam was still incomplete.  They were together and reflected the image of God.  Adam was special to Eve, and Eve was special to Adam.  They became one.  Adam did not become Eve, and Eve did not become Adam, but the two were united to be one.  They were different but became one.  There is an idea of equality between them, but there is also an idea of different roles of the two.  Women’s ordination is not an issue of equal rights but different roles. 

Dr Luan Brizendine of the University of California, a female psychiatrist and self-proclaimed feminist, published her findings in The Female Brain, in which she says that the average woman utters 20,000 words per day, while man speaks just 7,000.  She says "women devote more brain cells to talking than men", and cites fundamental differences between male and female brains as the cause.”  Her published work was based on her own clinical work and the findings of more than 1,000 studies.  She reluctantly admitted: "I know it is not politically correct to say this but I've been torn for years between my politics and what science is telling us.  I believe women actually perceive the world differently from men.”  She also says, “Girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys.  Their brains are different by the time they're born, and their brains are what drive their impulses, values, and their very reality.”  However, I must say that there are dissenting voices against her findings.  Oxford University linguistics professor Deborah Cameron insisted “the amount we talk is influenced by who we are with and what we are doing.”  The only reason that I was interested in Brizendine’s book was because she, a proclaimed feminist, admitted that there are in-born differences between men and women. 

There are people arguing that we should allow women to be ordained because they are capable, intelligent, and well educated.  Furthermore, some women argue that they have been called by God to be pastors.  Not all of their arguments are wrong.  For example, they say that Christian women do have spiritual gifts like Christian men.  Women are also members of the Body of Christ.  Therefore, they ought to make contributions in order to edify the Body.  Especially, their spiritual gifts must be exercised to glorify God.  It is also true that there were lots of Christian women who used their spiritual gifts to minister to the Body of believers in the New Testament.  If they were able to serve in the church, the contemporary churches today should honour our women by allowing them to serve.  But so far, I do not think that there is anyone who will speak against the idea that women must be able to serve.  The essence of real challenge in this issue of women’s ordination is on whether there are any restrictions on the ministry of women, such as being pastors.  In fact, since the time of apostolic age, most orthodox Christians have thought so.  Of course some disagreed, but interestingly enough they (I may not be able to confirm whether all of them, but probably most of them) have belonged to unsound or unhealthy offshoot groups of churches.  Most of them have shown unhealthy and unsound theologies as well.  What I can safely say is that most orthodox Christians have not dissented from restricting women from being ordained.  It appears that the Bible does not permit women to be pastors.  For example, 1 Timothy 2:11-14 says, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”  Based on these verses, have we been right to keep women from being ordained?  Especially, verse 12 clearly states that women are permitted neither to teach nor to usurp authority over men.  Despite this apparent restriction of women’s ministry, there are people who think that this passage is not applicable to the contemporary churches.  Again, they argue that women are more capable and well educated today than in Paul’s time.  This sort of argument goes into the next argument that Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12 is an outcome of the culture of his days.  This argument seems to be very weak if we carefully read verses 13 and 14, in which Paul said that women were not to take authority over men by teaching them or usurping their authority because of the order of God’s creation of man and woman and because of how man and woman fell into sin.   

The objections to the unchangeable teachings of the Bible concerning women’s role in the church will inevitably lead us into Biblical exegesis on 1 Timothy 2.  Let me give you a few reasons why women-ordinationists do not accept Paul’s teachings in this chapter.  They are because, firstly, some refuse to accept the Pauline authorship of the epistle.  They say that an unknown author used Paul’s name to claim its apostolic authority.  Well, this matter is not my concern at the moment.  Instead of going into more talks about the authorship of 1 Timothy, I’ll skip this part simply by reaffirming my faith and conviction in the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word.  1:1-2 says, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; 2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”  I do not want to argue with those who say that the author of this epistle was a pseudo-Paul.  It is because they do not share the same conviction of the authority of the Bible with me, and there is no point to discuss this matter with them.  It is not only my personal conviction of the authority of the Bible, I believe that there are ample internal and external evidences of the Pauline authorship of the book. Secondly, some accept the idea that what Paul teaches in 1 Timothy is a product of cultural conditioning.  Therefore, it is necessary for me to expound 1 Timothy 2.  I’ll do it in the next few articles.   


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




Christmas Concert Practice - more participants needed. Anyone interested in joining please see Sis Sally Teng.

Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation & Church membership, please see Pastor Ki ASAP.


Looking Ahead

Christmas Concert on Sat, 8 Dec.

National B-P Youth Camp, 11-15 Dec. Speaker: Bro Peter Blake. Theme: B.O.O.T. Camp.

Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor, 24-26 April 2008. Please arrange your day off work on Thurs, 24 April, now.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies– Bros Elton Law (Jpn) & Jonathan Liao (Adl); Sisters Gillian Ong (Melb), Peng Ha Yeo (Syd); & Mrs. Wee Lee Ting (S’pore); & all who arrived safely.

Church activities: AFG, Christmas Concert practices, Sunday School outing (Attendance: 30), Wed Bible Study & YAF.

All parents, organisers & participants at the Sunday School Outing.

Job—Bro Eu-Jzin Tan (S’pore) & Sis Juanita Tong (Part-time).


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, & Hans Ziegelman; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Joyce Chen, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Bro Sam Nang & Sis Chulamy; preparation for our team.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Sisters Serene Wong & Juanita Tong (Melb/Adl); all those travelling this week.

Full-time job -  Bro Daniel Volvricht & Sis Juanita Tong.

Cootamundra Bible Fellowship at Cootamundra (NSW).

Drought to cease in Australia.

Year 12 students - Bro Samuel Ki & Sis Amelia Tan.

Medical Exam— Bro Richard Tee (NZ).

2008 YAF Committee Elections - nominated candidates.

Job decision in 2008 - Sis Min Yen Chia.

Persecuted believers in Islamic & Communist countries.

Accommodation & work - Sis Gillian Ong (Melb).



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