In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Should women be ordained as ministers?


Recently I watched a movie entitled Welcome to Paradise with my 15 year old son Daniel. We enjoyed the movie. But the movie featured a female pastor; so Daniel asked me why there are not more ministers who are women. I explained that most Christian religious groups think that the role of pastor is reserved for men; so Daniel asks me, Where does it say that in the Bible?

Of course being the deeply spiritual and knowledgeable person that I am (NOT), I didn't remember.

I'm delighted that Daniel bases what is right or wrong on what the Bible says. I want to be honest with him and, when I don't have answers, search the Word to find them. So I spent some time looking up what the Bible has to say on the topic. I'll share here what scriptures I came up with during the time I had to spend on this today (obviously this is not an exhaustive list of what the Bible has to say on this topic).

I found that this study led me to ask myself a lot of questions. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts on these passages and this topic in general.

In the interest of post length, I've linked some of the longer scripture passage locations with the actual passage over on Bible gateway instead of writing out all of the Bible passages.

Ephesians 1:4-13 - This passage talks about Believers being one body in Christ and that He has given us gifts to use in relationship with one another for the purpose of building one another up in Him and training for service. Both pastors and teachers are listed, and in this specific passage there's no gender indication.

1 Corinthians 11:3-16 The key verse here as it relates to this discussion, is verse 3: "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." But when I read this passage I find myself asking why do churches typically consider the whole bit about women covering their heads from the 5th verse to be a cultural, but believe the hierarchy to be relevant today? Coffman Commentaries had some interesting thoughts as to why the head covering was cultural, but I felt somewhat confused because his comments on verse 3 were related to the Ephesians 5:22-33 relationship for marriage; that men should be the head. Throughout this Ephesians passage there is the comparison to Christ, who is the head of the church, and the husband who is the head of his wife. I recognize that the church, the body of Christ, refers to all Believers. The local church is part of "the church"; so it's obvious that Christ is head of the local church. But since husbands are compared to Christ's relationship to the church, and Christ is head of the church, does it follow that men should be the authority in the local church?

1 Timothy 2 - Verses 11-13 are the strongest point for why many Christian churches believe women can not be pastors: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. This passage indicates that a woman can not teach or have authority over men. The pastor in most, if not all, Christian churches both teaches and has some degree of spiritual authority over the congregants.

It would seem that the whole issue is one of order and authority.

There are definitely Bible passages that show women in positions of ministering to people:

The first 24 verses of Acts 2 show the account of when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. In this passage we see that prophesy regarding this day was fulfilled, and that part of this prophecy was that it says in verse 17 that:
In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
So women are shown in this passage to have God's spirit and prophesy.

In Acts 18:18-26 I can see a husband and wife team working together to share the gospel. In the second half of the 26th verse I see:
When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

In Romans 16:1 I see Paul saying:
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. So obviously Phoebe is ministering in some capacity in the local church.

Churches that do ordain women as ministers often refer to Galatians 3:28 that states:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. When I read this particular passage I see it as referring to our access to God through Jesus instead of roles we fulfill. But I can see the point being made that since we all have access to God through Jesus Christ, why can't we all function in all gifts of His Spirit in the local body. I just don't know how to get around the 1 Timothy 2:11-13 passage.

What about you, do you think women should be ordained to be pastors in local churches?

35 comments:

Tricia said...

Tracy - I agree with your assessments on the verses you referenced. There seem to be accounts in Acts (I think) of deaconesses as well. The one thing that Mark and I have discussed is Paul's use of the word "I" in "I do not permit". Before that, his statement is much more absolute: "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission" - yes, and I quite agree. Women are called to submit to their husbands and other authorities. Of course, men are also called to submit to the authorities over them as well. Then he says "I do not permit" as if it may be his way of making sure that happens, because as we women know, submission is very difficult and we women tend to like to talk more than we sometimes should. That being said - I personally believe, in agreement with Paul's statement, that women should not regularly have a hierarchical position over men (for instance, a lead female pastor with an associate male pastor). And I base this on what I know about the God-given traits of men and women. God created man to be a provider and leader - the head. And He created woman to be the help-meet - see the creation story in Gen. I do not believe this means that a woman can not lead in prayer in mixed company, nor do I believe this means a woman should not ask questions or give her thoughts on scripture in mixed company. However, I do believe that a woman taking a leading role over men tends to stress the social dynamic, ultimately causing tension because it questions and tests those God-given characteristics inherent in men and women. Also, there is the other practical reason of not having men and women who are not married to each other disciple each other because it could pervert the relationship and lead to temptations to sin.

I believe women can effectively use their spiritual gifts of pastoring or prophesy and still be in accordance with 1 Tim. Firstly, by ministering directly to other women, which we are called to do in Titus 2. And also by using our gifts in concert with our husbands or other leaders, while still being in submission to their ultimate leadership of the group or discussion. Submission is such a tricky thing to understand. And Paul's statement in Tim is also a bit disconcerting.

GCT said...

Wow, Tricia, I'm sorry that you've been indoctrinated with misogyny and have learned to think that not only is it OK, but that you should willingly accept it and agree with it.

To the OP,
The Bible is a rather patriarchal and misogynistic book that does not paint women in a flattering light. Women are property in the Bible. Yes, I know you will point to the passages already stated, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. When Lot sends his daughters out to be raped, he treats them as property and this is seen as a good thing, for example.

According to the Bible, the churches that forbid women having leadership roles are correct. The Bible is outdated and not a good place for us to get our morals from, especially since as a society we have developed a better moral code. If we strictly followed the Bible, we would have slavery, death penalties for blasphemy, etc. And, we would also still treat women like dirt (not that some of us humans still don't).

Sharla said...

To GCT: You REALLY believe that today's society has created a better moral code then what the Bible has outlined? Wow, that's really sad....
I love the way Christ reached out to women and taught them, how He encouraged their involvement in His ministry, how He expressed love and honor to them.
I agree with Tricia that women ARE called to teach and lead....1st by God's calling and then 2nd under a godly male's headship in the church.
God created man and then He created woman...and while the man was with her when she listened to the serpent rather than what God had asked of them...she blew it. She added guidelines to what God had actually required and THEN still chose to disregard the rule. And God, in His awesomeness dealt out the consequences for their choice fairly. Today's 'moral code' is anything BUT moral...too many times the code is self seeking and self serving....

photogr said...

Touchy subject to consider here.

We all know in biblical times that women were not thought of well as far as leadership roles.If you look at other beliefs today, the woman is still thought of as that. The rule that the Taliban had for women with their total coverings demanded in their beliefs and customs is an example.

I don't think that there should be a gender restriction as far as women being ordained ministers or pastors. Should they be called by the Lord to serve in that capacity and are qualified, who are we to deny the Lord's calling or prevent it?

Not that I have experienced a female pastor or minister in such a leadership role yet, I would be open to it should she be led by the Lord's grace.

GCT said...

"To GCT: You REALLY believe that today's society has created a better moral code then what the Bible has outlined?"

Yes.

Secular influence has led to the outlawing of slavery, equal rights for women, minorities, gays (still working on that one because religious folks following the Bible are inhibiting it), etc. With Biblical morals, we'd still have slavery, we'd stone people for adultery, women would be property, etc. It is undeniable that morality has evolved from the Biblical codes of morality, and that we have more freedoms now than we ever would under Biblical systems.

Michelle said...

Well, my two cents is...

You did a great job with the scripture. I believe we are all called to preach the Word and spread the gospel. However, I believe as scripture states that a woman should not have authority over the man. I believe the female elders should teach and assist the younger women within the church on having godly homes.

Something interesting that came to mind when you quoted the "head coverings." A while back I studied a little on the head being a symbol of authority and that is why the woman has her head covered. it's been a while so I can't remember the details

I may risk being attacked...but my husband and I discuss how the role of women that has changed in culture and the church could be what is resulting in the breakdown of families and the church. I was raised to be a female who did not depend on a man and was to be who I wanted to be. I see that now as a detriment to my respect for males and authority. I have since changed my way of thinking and understand that God's plan is for man to have authority over me and at the same time love and protect me. (Well, that got off the subject!)

Tracy said...

Thank you so much, each of you who's taken the time to comment so far. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, I decided to research this as a result of a question from my son; NOT as a chance to bring up an issue that stirs up a lot of debate. But I appreciate hearing what others have to say.

GCT, I really like you. I appreciate how you put a lot of thought into things. We've talked enough in the past that we both have a feel for where the other one is coming from and know that we have opposing views.

For me the entire issue is what the Bible says on the subject. I recognize however, that lovers of God can sometimes read the same scriptures differently; an example being how I've mentioned in this post that different Believers interpret Galatians 3:28 . I would not part company regarding this issue with another Believer. I would not attend a church where there was a female Sr. pastor because I don't see that as a Biblical situation; but, as long as that church believed the gospel, I would certainly engage in Christ centered community efforts with people from that church such as outreach programs. I would pray for the ministry of that church the same as I pray for the ministry of all the churches in my area.

One other point I want to make is that I see these scriptures as specific to marriage and the local church body and nothing more. I do not see them as a social statement; what I'm trying to say is that I do not think women are subject to men in general. For my work I've been the administrator for programs that had up to around 230 employees; obviously I worked closely with a team of 7-9 people who actually worked with the groups of employees. Typically about half of those employees that I worked with most closely were men. Neither they, nor I, typically had any issues with the fact that I was their boss. In the work setting it is about knowledge, skills, ability and experience. I do not think these scriptures are at all saying anything about women's gifting or skills; but for whatever reasons God appears (from what I can glean from the Bible) to have lines of authority in the family and church.

Tricia said...

GCT: Unfortunately much of society has a very misguided view of what Godly submission is. It seems that you hold the mainstream view that to be a woman of God, as God intended, is to be less valuable than a man. If this is not your interpretation, I apologize for my mistake. However, the Bible clearly indicates that women are equal in the eyes of God (see 1 Pet 3:7 - which indicates both that she is an equal while recognizing her emotional "weakness" as compared to her husband - it's telling men to be compassionate toward their wives as an equal). Let's also not forget that way back in Gen, God created both Male and Female in the image of God. He created them to have distinct and complimentary roles - not unequal, but different so as to help each other. Male and female together represent the full image of God. It is quite beautiful IMO.

You also brought up Lot's treatment of his daughters. First - the Bible contains stories of real humans, who are inherently sinful. Just because a person and his or her actions are in the Bible does not make them condoned by God. The passage you referenced (Gen 19) does not indicate that God condoned Lot offering his daughters to be raped. Also, David raping Bathsheba was clearly a sin and he had to deal with the consequences of that sin. God is not endorsing rape because it is in the Bible, rather He uses this story to demonstrate human weaknesses even in the most Godly and to show the need for repentance and reliance on Him.

Tracy - I agree with you that the passages referenced refer to intimate and spiritual hierarchical roles, and not necessarily those in the workplace. I too worked with many men, several under my direction and it worked well. I still believe that in such situations it is important to take into account the differences of men and women so as not to have additional, unnecessary stresses.

dwhite said...

Hi. This is Daniel, Tracy's son that she was referring to. As I was reading, a few things came to my mind that I wanted to put out there.

For one, I agree with both Sharla and Tricia. I agree that man should, have authority over woman in the church and in a relationship. Also, that the man should be considerate to the woman, not misusing his authority.

I am also going to have to say that there is no way the "moral code" of today's society are "better" than what the bible has outlined. The bible has outlined love. Ephesian 6:9 shows that God did not want the masters to "threaten them," because with our Father in Heaven, "there is no favoritism." Additionally, sin is a serious offense. It is what separates us from God. Who is man to say that God's judgment is harsh? I think we have the topic of women not being property.

Being in High School, I get to see a large part of society's standards as far as its moral code. There are a plethora of sins that are just rampant in today's culture. STDs are widespread. "One out of every four teen girls has a sexually transmitted disease," (www.npr.org). I do not know too many of the popular kids that haven't done drugs. Respect for women is also decaying. Girls are getting closer and closer to being nothing more than a booty call. There are some good aspects of today's culture, including there being less prevalence of people being judgmental, though some people are called judgmental, when they are not. When I weigh today's moral code with the one outlined in the Bible, I see the Bible being the only choice.

Another topic that has not been mentioned here is the case when a male is not a man. A man has character and leadership, among other qualities. On the contrary, some guys never grow up to be men, in which case, in their absence, a woman is left having to step up to the plate.

Ely Biado said...

1 timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

They are not permitted to rule because they will cause us to err. The scriptures has something to say about women, children and babes being the ruler.

Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

Isaiah 3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

Isaiah 3:5 And the people will be oppressed, Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; The youth will storm against the elder And the inferior against the honorable.

For GCT comment like:

The Bible is outdated and not a good place for us to get our morals from, especially since as a society we have developed a better moral code. If we strictly followed the Bible, we would have slavery, death penalties for blasphemy, etc. And, we would also still treat women like dirt.

I completely disagree. He is not aware of the change in priesthood.

Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.

Before it is an eye for an eye but now its different.

Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Who says it's outdated?

GCT said...

OK, lots of people have addressed me, and I feel it is only polite to comment on the points that have been raised...

Tracy,
I like you too, although I do admit to finding your views to be saddening, for lack of a better word. I'm glad that you don't see an issue with women having authority in the workplace (I'm sure your first-hand knowledge has something to do with that) but I'm mystified as to why you don't extend that same perspective into the religious/marriage realm. If women are completely able to have authority in other areas, what makes marriage and the church different? This smacks of misogyny and the idea of the inferiority of women, an idea that many moral people of today have discarded as old and outdated. We throw out other outdated concepts from the Bible, so why not this one too?

Tricia,
The Peter reference is indeed saying that women are equal to men, but only in the sense that they too can receive salvation. The Bible sets up a heirarchy where women are less than men, and less valuable. Should we expect any less from a society that was patriarchal and male-dominated though?

Genesis indicates that they were made in his image (man first and woman from man, which sets up a heirarchal structure). Modern interpretation is that this means equal in stature, etc. but to a writer of that time, it was more likely a comment on the fact that women and men have very similar physical appearances, and they would have imagined that their god also looked similar to them in appearance. In fact, we already know that there were human-shaped gods worshipped at the time.

As pertains to Lot, Lot is seen as righteous by god. Nowhere does it mention that he had done anything bad by offering his daughters. In fact, the angels don't seem to have a problem with it at all.

If you read 2 Samuel 12:1-4, you'll see that David is in trouble with god because he took someone else's property.

Daniel,
You didn't address me directly, but I did want to point out my previous comment where I spoke about Biblical morality and how with it we would still have slavery, inequality (respect for women in the Bible is non-existent almost), etc. Many people take those things for granted now. Also, the statistics you cited are misleading, since the areas where abstinence only education is used are the ones that end up having higher teen pregnancy and disease rates.

Lastly, I know that you are in high school and have a lot of living to do. I hope that you meet a woman (hopefully in college) that simply rocks your world. I hope that you learn to see her as your equal...in all things. You may find (as I do) that it's much more satisfying to have an equal partner in your life than one that is reliant upon you and subordinate to you.

Ely,
I find it ironic that you would bring up the sermon on the mount. What Jesus is doing there is not abolishing the OT law, but chastizing everyone for not following it strictly enough. He lays out a rather draconian interpretation where he morally equates lust to adultery, anger to murder, etc. And, yes, this is outdated. We know that those things are not moral equivalents. We scoff at the draconian dictates of Muslims, yet when Jesus did the same thing it's somehow to be held up as an example?

And, we (all of us, including Xians) don't actually follow the morals of the Bible, no matter how many Xians deny it. There's no prohibitions on slavery. In fact, there are laws to regulate it in the Bible, meaning that were we to follow Biblical morality, we would not have a problem with slavery, so long as it followed the rules, and this is just one example.

JD Curtis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JD Curtis said...

I really don't have a problem with the ordination of certain, well qualified women but the fact is, it never ends there.

The same denominations that 20-30 years ago were debating whether or not to ordain women are now debating whether or not to ordain openly gay clergy which is not only completely un-Biblical but confusing to the flock as well. There should be a consistency in the application of God's word.

There are always opportunities for women to instruct and help out in a church and they are highly valued in that women do a considerable amount of the heavy lifting in numerous congregations. The office of pastor/reverend/priest however is another matter.

Tracy said...

GCT - Everyone typically comments toward you because, as you're aware, your views are different than mine and the typical person who reads my blog.

I want to clarify:

1. The only reason that I believe that women should not have authority over men in the church or marriage is because the Bible says it. Sometimes there are things that I do not totally understand in the Bible but I choose to follow what I believe are God's ways.
2. The whole subordinate thing looks a lot of different ways for different people in marriage. Daniel and I were talking last night about my husband John & I's relationship in this area. How this whole concept works in everyday life. John & I both respect each other a lot and are grateful for the gift of one another. We've both been married before and, due to those bad experiences, may have an even greater appreciation for how good we've got it now. There has never, in the 4ys we've been married, been a time when John has insisted that I do anything I don't feel right about. We always choose to work together, and if something is super important to the other person, we just give. I honestly can not see either one of us giving in more than the other; it's about equal. In Ephesians 5:22-33 there are guidelines written out for marriage and the bottom line of all of them is love & respect.

Tricia said...

Daniel, you raise some very good points. We live in a fallen world and it saddens me greatly to see how the effects of our sins are so blatantly prevalent among our youth. Your point about a male not stepping up to be the man is also very insightful. This, and the other extreme where the man perverts the Word of God to become a dictator, are where it becomes exceedingly difficult for a woman to continue to honor her husband's role as the leader. However, this is what women are called to do (see 1 Pet 3:1-6). And all Christians are called to submit to their authorities even when they are being unreasonable (1 Pet 2:18-20). God uses all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rm 8:28) and in such a situation it can be sure to be a deep learning opportunity. That being said, that does not mean that a Godly woman is to be passive and allow her world to fall apart around her. In fact, 1 Pet 3:1-2 calls on a woman to be an example to her husband, continuing in her walk with the Lord. And Proverbs 31 describes a wife whose value is "far above jewels" and she is far from passive. In fact she works outside the home, running her own business. She respects her husband and does not talk down about him to her friends. There is a lot of good stuff in there on how to be a true woman of God. It describes a beautiful marriage, full of mutual support and partnership. This is undoubtably quite difficult when either spouse fails to fulfill his or her God given role, but God calls us to go through difficult times so that we may be perfected in Him.

I too hope that God someday brings you a woman who "rocks your world" - one whose value is far beyond that of jewels, who is a vision of beauty, inside and out, who makes you proud because of her work ethic, and one who honors and respects you for the man God created you to be.

GCT - I have responded to you directly because you engaged me directly. I, too, find it polite to address specific comments, especially since the topic is so very important to the souls of men (men used as a general form here meant to include both male and female - thought I'd best be clear given the topic at hand).

Re: Lot - the Angels had no need to do anything about Lot's daughters as they were never handed over to the men. They did, once violence began towards Lot as he was the only one out there with the mob, blind the mob and protect those in the house. This story really does not support your point at all.

Re: David - the verses you mentioned are meant to get David to admit to and confess his sins. They are not God's opinion on the value of a women.

Re: Genesis - Yes, Adam came first and then Eve from him does indicate a hierarchy of authority, not of value. A company with 2 CEOs does not operate very efficiently does it? Someone has to have the deciding vote - that is what Godly leadership is. It is not a statement of value. Note that Eve was taken from Adam - Adam is therefore not whole without her. This is why when a man and women marry they become one flesh. Is a person's heart any less valuable than their lungs or brain? No, absolutely not. Different roles to make the whole work properly.

You are correct that society has often perverted the word of God and used it to achieve it's own selfish ends, resulting in husbands behaving as dictators and treating their women as slaves. But this is not Godly leadership. Husbands are called to be the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. And what did Christ do as the head? He taught spiritual truths; He served the people by teaching, healing, feeding, and washing feet; He DIED for them. Men are called to give their lives for their wives. And wives are called to respect them for it. It is beautiful the way God intended.

Tracy - very well said.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"GCT - Everyone typically comments toward you because, as you're aware, your views are different than mine and the typical person who reads my blog."

Trust me, I know that all too well.

"1. The only reason that I believe that women should not have authority over men in the church or marriage is because the Bible says it."

Does that make sense though? There's no reason why this should be. It contradicts what we know about equality in all other areas of life, yet for some reason god dictates that women should be subservient to men?

"2. The whole subordinate thing looks a lot of different ways for different people in marriage."

Your marriage sounds like a healthy one and I'm glad that you've found that. But, with all due respect, it doesn't sound Biblical. When one partner is elevated to the level of having a guaranteed veto power and absolute say in the end (the buck stops with them) the dynamic is never equal and can never be truly equal. This is the situation set up by the Bible. That man has dominion over women in marriage and in the church.

Tricia,
"I have responded to you directly because you engaged me directly. I, too, find it polite to address specific comments..."

Thank you. I just didn't want people to think I was trying to be a rabble rouser just to be a rabble rouser.

"Re: Lot...This story really does not support your point at all."

It certainly does. Nowhere are Lot's actions condemned, which means your contention that god disapproved is unsupported. That Lot is shown as an example of a righteous person supports mine. In all that Lot does, he's held up as righteous and worthy of saving from the fate that befalls his home, including offering up his daughters to the crowd.

"Re: David - the verses you mentioned are meant to get David to admit to and confess his sins."

And, they show what I said they show, that David was in trouble not for taking a woman (her consent in question) but because he took another man's property.

"Re: Genesis - Yes, Adam came first and then Eve from him does indicate a hierarchy of authority, not of value. A company with 2 CEOs does not operate very efficiently does it?"

Are you really comparing a marriage to running a business? And, yes, the CEO is considered more valuable to the company, hence the larger salary and bigger say in the running of the business.

"Different roles to make the whole work properly."

With no need for different roles. There's no need for men to be the "head of the household." There's nothing inherent in maleness that makes this so. Women are just as capable of making decisions as men and making correct decisions.

"You are correct that society has often perverted the word of God and used it to achieve it's own selfish ends, resulting in husbands behaving as dictators and treating their women as slaves."

I don't see it as a perversion. We, in the modern day, have perverted god's word to be kindler and gentler due to our own evolving morals. Since we now look down on things like slavery, Xians of today claim that it is and always was part of god's word. But, read the Bible and it's rather apparent that nowhere does it condemn slavery. In fact, rules are set up to regulate slavery. Read a history book and you'll see how commonly the Bible was used to promote and justify slavery. Don't make the mistake of applying your morality back onto the Bible and then claiming the reverse (i.e. that the Bible informs your morality).

"It is beautiful the way God intended."

Sorry, but I find nothing beautiful about misogyny and sexism.

Tracy said...

GCT - A few things:

It seems as if you are saying that because the Bible denotes different roles in marriage for men and women that is putting women down. I think Tricia explained that well when she said that different does not mean one is better than the other. I also think the whole "someone has to be the bottom line" concept has a lot of truth to it, but a wise man will not push the envelope with that one. I'm blessed because my beloved is a wise man. The Ephesians 5:22-33 passage marriage guidelines describe a way of life where each person counts the other as more important than his/herself. In my experience this concept in marriage is both the most challenging to carry out and the most beneficial.

One more thought on marriage or, more to the point, life as I choose to live it. When I said that I choose to believe in the roles in marriage, and about women not having authority over men in church, you questioned me regarding why I would do something that doesn't make sense. Sometimes,how God says to do things in the Bible says, does not make sense to me; but because I am not able to understand it, does not make it untrue. I chose to obey because He is my Lord. I recognize that this reasoning must be utilized with caution (I'm envisioning all kinds of nuts who throughout history have done all kinds of crazy, and sometimes terrible, things because of what they claim to perceive the Bible to say). The Bible talks about followers of Christ being in a body, a group, and needing each other. It also speaks to gifts God gives to various individuals to help the group. It also talks about obtaining wise counsel. It also talks about the Holy Spirit speaking to the individual Believer. Those gifts in use, wise counsel, and the direction of the Holy Spirit will hopefully keep the individual from mis-using the Bible.

The thing about slavery. You bring this up frequently since we've met. I'm guessing it's because you know that we all know and accept the truth that slavery is wrong and you figure that if you point out that Christians in the past have used the Bible to be pro slavery, and the fact that you interpret the Bible to be pro slavery, that this shows the Bible to be the archaic and even harmful text that you perceive it to be. I see why you think what you do but I disagree because:
a) Just because some people who were Christians used the Bible to wrongly push their own agenda in no way changes the character of God or the truth in His Word. I'll even give you that those Bible-pushing pro-slavery folks were sincere. I've been sincerely wrong more than once in my own life.
b) Just because God speaks to the conditions of the world, and then tells His people how to behave given those conditions, does not mean He is saying the conditions are as He wants them to be. Until Jesus returns to this earth and sets up His physical Kingdom here, people have free choice and can and will choose to disobey. Because of this disobedience there is, and will continue to be, all manner of evil. Frequently we see evil taking the face of those who can dominate over another do; because it benefits them and they can do it. I see the Bible passages, such as the book of Jude, not so much condoning slavery as dealing with the reality of in the culture and then speaking to how followers of Christ should then act given that reality. I repeatedly see a theme in scripture that God is less interested in my specific circumstances than He is in my character and my obedience to Him. Be I free or a slave, be I rich or poor, be things going my way or not - may every moment, in every situation, I praise His greatness and live in obedience to Him.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"It seems as if you are saying that because the Bible denotes different roles in marriage for men and women that is putting women down."

It's not just different roles. We obviously have different roles due to our biologies. For instance, men can not carry children to term. It's not simply about that, but about the roles that are set aside and decided upon. The specific roles set up by the Bible are for the man to rule over the woman. Your husband does sound like a good man, but what if he decided on something that you completely rejected and would not be dissuaded? You would be forced to follow him according to the Bible, because he rules over you.

"Sometimes,how God says to do things in the Bible says, does not make sense to me; but because I am not able to understand it, does not make it untrue. I chose to obey because He is my Lord."

It doesn't make it necessarily wrong, but you can't know that it is right either. Just like our previous discussion over the evil acts of god. You can't simply assume that god is good and then toss out all the evil with a wave of the hand claiming that you can't understand god. Same applies here.

"a) Just because some people who were Christians used the Bible to wrongly push their own agenda in no way changes the character of God or the truth in His Word."

How do you know they were "wrongly push[ing] their own agenda?" You have no basis to make that determination if the Bible strictly comes down to personal interpretation. An objective reading shows that god does not condemn the act of slavery and that there is more support for the idea than condemnation.

"b) Just because God speaks to the conditions of the world, and then tells His people how to behave given those conditions, does not mean He is saying the conditions are as He wants them to be."

I'm quite taken aback by this...isn't that the whole point of having your moral code in the Bible in the first place? Why insist that the Bible lays out a moral framework for us today if it's subject to the conditions and attitudes of the people who wrote it (or at least the people who lived during the time it was written)?

And, I would also point out that god then seems rather unconcerned with correcting equal rights abuses. Murder was also very prevalent (especially if we are to believe apologists in their defense of god's genocides) and instead of god putting up rules to work within the framework of the cultures that existed, he forbade it. Same with quite a few rules, yet for slavery he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, they already have slavery, so instead of telling them it is bad, I'll simply institute rules to make it slightly less bad?" Are we really supposed to believe that this sentiment came from the omni-benevolent creator of the universe that seems pretty intent on making sure that we follow his commands?

"Until Jesus returns to this earth and sets up His physical Kingdom here, people have free choice and can and will choose to disobey."

People who hold slaves are not disobeying god according to the Bible.

Tricia said...

GCT:
On Lot, again - even the most righteous humans are still human and prone to sin. This is why Jesus was sent to earth as a sacrifice for us, because even the most righteous fail. It is when we acknowledge this (our sinful weaknesses) and call on our Savior that we are forgiven under God's grace. Lot is no different. God does not specifically call out every sin committed by people in the Bible. Rather, such real-life people and stories are left in so that we all can relate and better understand the grace and mercy of God. Thus, the story of Lot still does not indicate that God approved of him offering his daughters.

Re David - I'm sure as with the story of Lot, we shall have to agree to disagree. Again, God is using a humanly example which he knows will pierce the heart of David to get him to confess. The example he uses is a statement of David's heart, not God's. God uses what he has to to reach His people.

Yes I am comparing a marriage to a business. Absolutely. I realize that puts a lot of people off, and my husband and I are quite "rationally" minded people (in the Myer briggs sense), but it is quite applicable. Surely I don't need to spell out all the similarities of all people needing to be on the same page, and having different roles so as to get things done efficiently, etc. And any good CEO will tell you that the other people in the business are just as valuable if not more so than he. Would you really use monetary compensation as a basis for someone's inherent value? I would say it is more a statement of the risks and responsibility that they have. And yes, in God's book, a husband or leader of a church takes on more risk and has more responsibility than the wife or non-leaders as they will be held accountable for where they lead their wife or congregation. Does this mean that the husband or church leader is inherently more valuable to God? No. It means that is the role God has placed them in. And a wife has just an important and valuable role as she can, more so than any other person, affect the spiritual growth of her husband, as well as other's she comes into contact with.

Yes - women are just as capable as men at making decisions. In many cases they are more capable at making the right decisions, especially if they are more spiritually mature or have more skilled experience in a certain area. That is not the point. The point is that God has called men to lead and has place a sense of responsibility in the man for the well-being of his spouse (the Bible supports this and many, many men also do). Which is why you see little boys playing war to protect. God has called women to be a helper for the husband and has placed a desire in them to be lead and cared for by their husband. This is why little girls dream of being princesses and love the movies where they are swept away by their prince - and very usually little boys could care less about the lovey dovey stories. Sadly, many women suppress this desire when they find (or believe) that they cannot trust men to lead them correctly. They then overcompensate and take charge, which they are quite capable of doing. However, this usually results in severely disrespecting the husband, who can't quite place the words as to why he just doesn't feel the same about his wife. With roles reversed, God's original plan is thrown out the window and because of the inherent desires of women and men, things typically become quite rocky. This is, I believe, the main reason for so many failing marriages today. I have personally seen it with too many or my friends and relatives. As Tracy said, referencing the Eph passage, it all boils down to love and respect.

Tricia said...

Part 2 - my post got too long. Guess I can be rather wordy...

Re morals and slavery: Don't worry, I'm not applying my own morals to the Bible. This whole submission thing rocked my world many years ago until I understood what the Bible actually said. And on slavery - I quite agree with you that God never comes out and says "I hate slavery" in the same way he actually says "I hate divorce". However, he does use slavery as a punishment when His people failed to obey Him. I think Tracy discussed this quite well when talking about God teaching us how to behave righteously in the worst situations. I do agree, however, that many Christians have made scripture less harsh than it really is. God is righteous and therefore also is wrathful when it comes to the unrighteous. Because He is holy He must hate the unholy. This is why the old testament is so filled with war and death and punishment. This is why He sent His son to be an atonement for our sins, so that we may be declared righteous in the sight of God and have access to His grace and mercy. It is a free gift and all we have to do is accept it and turn our lives over to Him, the one who created us in the first place. Else, we will receive the full wrath of almighty God for all eternity. The God of the Bible is harsh - I agree with you. But He is also loving and merciful to those who recognize their need for His mercy and grace.

GCT said...

Tricia,
Re Lot - you're using special pleading in arguing from silence. You seem to think that god disapproved of Lot offering his daughters because not all sins of all people are listed in the Bible? You have no support for that in the case of Lot. On the contrary, Lot is saved (and his family by extension) because god sees him as righteous, even after he offers his daughters. If god really had a problem with Lot doing so, then he would not have proclaimed Lot to be so righteous.

Re David - you're missing the forrest for the trees. Do you really think the example used was completely made up and had nothing to do with what David did? David rapes someone and a man comes to him telling him that stealing is wrong. This, somehow makes David decide that rape is wrong too? More likely, he would say, "Well, I didn't steal anything, so what's this guy talking about?" The reason the story works on David's conscience is because he recognizes what he did as what the person in the story did, and what was done was stealing the property of another man.

"And yes, in God's book, a husband or leader of a church takes on more risk and has more responsibility than the wife or non-leaders as they will be held accountable for where they lead their wife or congregation."

And, that role is reserved for men, which is sexist and misogynistic.

"And a wife has just an important and valuable role as she can, more so than any other person, affect the spiritual growth of her husband, as well as other's she comes into contact with."

Except when her husband lays down the law and demands obedience, which she must give him. Sorry, but when the lines are drawn such, there can be no equality.

"Yes - women are just as capable as men at making decisions. In many cases they are more capable at making the right decisions, especially if they are more spiritually mature or have more skilled experience in a certain area. That is not the point."

No, that is the point. There's no reason why men have to be the decision maker, and sometimes they make the wrong decision when the woman would make the right one. By setting up such a system, god has set up a flawed system that doesn't make sense and is not fair or just. It's sexist.

"This is why little girls dream of being princesses and love the movies where they are swept away by their prince - and very usually little boys could care less about the lovey dovey stories."

As if the culture these kids grow up in have nothing to do with it?

"However, this usually results in severely disrespecting the husband, who can't quite place the words as to why he just doesn't feel the same about his wife."

This sounds like the justification used for forcing women to wear burkas.

"This is, I believe, the main reason for so many failing marriages today."

States with the most religiousity have the highest divorce rates, so you may want to rethink your idea.

"Re morals and slavery: Don't worry, I'm not applying my own morals to the Bible."

Yes, you most certainly are. There is nowhere in the Bible that slavery is condemned, but you claim that it is anyway, or at least that you get your sense of condemning slavery from the morals of the Bible? Sorry, but a cursory look at history confirms what I am saying.

"However, he does use slavery as a punishment when His people failed to obey Him."

So, he disapproves of slavery so much (moral absolute and all) that he turns around and uses it as punishment? This makes no sense and destroys your argument.

"I do agree, however, that many Christians have made scripture less harsh than it really is."

You'll be happy to note that I agree with you on that score. I'll refrain, however, from commenting on the rest of your comment regarding this as it's already long and not germaine to the OP or the discussion.

Tricia said...

GCT:

"You seem to think that god ...?"

No - I said that God did not say it was right, nor did He approve of it. He was silent. Therefore, just as I cannot say that He absolutely disapproved neither can you say that He absolutely approved.

"On the contrary, Lot is saved ..."

Why do you keep avoiding addressing the fact that all men, including those who follow after God, are prone to sin? This is the biggest theme throughout the entire Bible and to miss that is to miss God's grace and mercy. I seriously pray that one day you will see that. Just because a person sins does not mean they cannot be saved. Just because a person follows after God does not mean they never sin. It means that they recognize their sinful nature, as well as their specific sins, and call on the Lord's mercy and grace.

"... had nothing to do with what David did?"

Of course not. But it was painted in a light that would most tug at David's heart. In those days, the culture more readily supported the view of a woman as belonging to a man. We're not that much different today with our language, are we? I would say "my husband", meaning he is not yours, you touch him and you die (speaking figuratively through my flesh here of course). I agree with your assessment of what David must have thought (except for the word "property") because he took another man's wife. But it would not have stopped there for David knew the commandment to not commit adultery, which is the natural extension once you include the word "wife".

"Except when her husband lays down the law ..."

This scenario is not a Godly one. In Eph 5:23, a husband is called to be the head of the wive as Christ is head of the church. Does Christ ever "demand obedience"? No, in His ministry here on earth, He teaches truths and tells people what will be the natural consequences of not obeying. He never physically harms anyone who choses not to obey, nor does He threaten or anything. He explains God's Word and encourages the people to submit to the Lord.

Now, if a husband is acting ungodly, a wife is called to willfully submit while still being true to the Word of God (see 1 Pet 3). For instance, if her husband demands she murder someone, she must not do it for she will be held accountable by God. She is not called to sit back and take beating after beating, but she is still called to be respectful to her husband, though he does not deserve it. In such a situation she is still being faithful to the Word of God by leaving the situation and seeking help, without initiating divorce or retaliation.

"By setting up such a system, ..."

I am sad that your heart is so hard.

"As if the culture ..."

Put boys and girls growing up together with the same toys and movies and boys will gravitate towards "boy toys" and girls will gravitate towards babies and dolls. It just happens.

"This sounds like the justification used for forcing women to wear burkas."

Which is another perversion of the Word. It is easy to pervert the Word of God.

"States with the most religiousity ..."

There are many, many religious people who do not follow after Christ or know the true Word of God. Religion has sadly been misused to justify man's selfish purposes. It saddens me greatly that the divorce rate among those who claim to be Christian is just as high as those outside the church. And most Christians do not have Godly marriages following God's plan for leadership and submission. Many times the roles are reversed or taken to a perverted extreme - both ending in chaos and pain.

"...history ..."

human history should not be the basis by which one judges the Word of God.

Tricia said...

"So, he disapproves of slavery ..."

Where did I ever say that He absolutely disapproved of slavery? I realize I was perhaps not worded well, but I acknowledged that He never comes out and says "I hate slavery" or "thou shall not have slaves". He does say "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mat 19:19) which would extend to mean treating a slave as you would yourself. So, while the institution of slavery may be acceptable to God, inhumane treatment of a slave would not. Also note that God uses slavery as a punishment - it is not His desired condition of the world, just as I do not desire to put my children in time-out.

"I'll refrain, ..."

I'm glad we agree on something. Though I find it rather sad that you don't find the rest applicable since it is the whole point of the Bible. We can discuss submission until we're blue in the face but if we don't understand God's wrath and His mercy then it's all in vain.

GCT said...

Tricia,
Thank you for taking the time to answer my comments.

"No - I said that God did not say it was right, nor did He approve of it. He was silent."

I understand your position. My position, however, is that Lot isn't called "unsinful" (is that a word?) but rather righteous. What Lot does is considered righteous by god in that story. The angels do not rebuke him at any time and decide to help him because of his actions. Remember, they weren't sent there to save Lot, but to save any righteous that they find. Even though Lot offered his daughters up to the crowd, the angels still found Lot to be righteous.

"Why do you keep avoiding addressing the fact that all men, including those who follow after God, are prone to sin?"

I honestly don't see this part of your dogma as relevant to the discussion. This is another area we could discuss til we are blue in the face, especially since I find it to be one of the more reprehensible dogmas of Xianity, but I think we can safely avoid that morass in this thread.

"Of course not. But it was painted in a light that would most tug at David's heart. In those days, the culture more readily supported the view of a woman as belonging to a man."

So, you are claiming that David sees women as property, so that's how it is framed to him and from that you can infer what you are inferring? Just to be clear...

"I would say "my husband", meaning he is not yours, you touch him and you die (speaking figuratively through my flesh here of course)."

Don't worry, I'm a straight man and have no designs on your husband. ;)

"This scenario is not a Godly one. In Eph 5:23, a husband is called to be the head of the wive as Christ is head of the church. Does Christ ever "demand obedience"?"

Um, yeah he does. And, that is the province of those in charge. The way it is set up, if the husband and wife have a disagreement, the husband can demand it be his way and the wife must submit.

"She is not called to sit back and take beating after beating, but she is still called to be respectful to her husband, though he does not deserve it."

Actually, she is called to take it, considering that the NT puts rather draconian restrictions on divorce. The woman may never inititate a divorce no matter what the husband does. She absolutely must sit back and take it.

"I am sad that your heart is so hard."

I'm sorry that you feel that way, but I certainly don't. A hardened heart, to me, would be one that simply looks at the Bible and says, "Yup, that's the way it should be regardless of the way women are treated." I would hope that you see that my thoughts and comments are aimed at liberating women from oppression and promoting equality, which is not what I would consider something from a "hardened heart."

"Put boys and girls growing up together with the same toys and movies and boys will gravitate towards "boy toys" and girls will gravitate towards babies and dolls. It just happens."

From numerous factors to be sure, but we can't ignore the factor that culture plays in this. It doesn't "just happen" in that children are shaped by their culture from the moment of birth.

GCT said...

"Which is another perversion of the Word. It is easy to pervert the Word of God."

I think you missed the point. You were discussing the idea that women act more independently, which disrespects the husband which makes the husband not want to be married to the wife. To me, this sounds like the justification given for making women wear a burka. See, the man might be unable to stop himself from raping the woman, so she must cover herself up. In this case, the man might not like an independent woman, so she must not be independent. It's forcing women to change behaviors to suit the bad behaviors or attitudes of men instead of getting at the root of the problem...the bad behavior or attitude.

"There are many, many religious people who do not follow after Christ or know the true Word of God."

I'm sorry, but this sounds like a no true Scotsman argument. Are you really going to argue that Xians who get divorces are not real Xians? That how it comes across.

"human history should not be the basis by which one judges the Word of God."

I'm not. What I'm doing is saying that we can look at history and see how we apply morals from outside the Bible to our cultures and societies and that we also see the phenomena where people claim that they come from the Bible.

"Where did I ever say that He absolutely disapproved of slavery?"

If he doesn't, then both of you have a lot of explaining to do. For instance, doesn't this run afoul of the idea of absolute morality? How does an omni-benevolent god justify using slavery as a tactic for punishment? Etc.

"So, while the institution of slavery may be acceptable to God, inhumane treatment of a slave would not."

Owning other people is inhumane in itself.

"Also note that God uses slavery as a punishment - it is not His desired condition of the world, just as I do not desire to put my children in time-out."

Why can an omni-max god not do things differently? If he doesn't desire there to be slavery, why does it exist? If he doesn't desire there to be slavery, why does he put people into slavery as a punishment? I don't desire capital punishment to be a part of our judicial system. Should I try and have people who disagree with me put to death through capital punishment?

"I'm glad we agree on something. Though I find it rather sad that you don't find the rest applicable since it is the whole point of the Bible."

It's only applicable in the sense that we should question whether it makes sense to follow the unjust and sexist rules of this god. I feel, however, that we've done a good job with holding to that topic without having to touch on the larger topic brought up.

Tricia said...

"the angels still found Lot to be righteous."

Because he is in general a man of God, who acknowledges his weakness and the sovereignty of the Lord.

"David sees women as property"

I am claiming that David may have been more willing to initially accept the sin of "stealing" than adultery. Many people have difficult times owning up to serious offenses, but will often own up to a lesser offense first.

"Don't worry, I'm a straight man and have no designs on your husband. ;)"

Good thing for you. ;)

"if the husband and wife have a disagreement, the husband can demand it be his way and the wife must submit."

He can, I suppose. But it is not the ideal situation as written in the Bible. Ideally, submission would be a voluntary withdrawal from the fight for control based on trust, not a forced position based on fear. This is quite clear in Eph.

"The woman may never inititate a divorce no matter what the husband does. "

She may in the case of adultery. And, to not divorce does not mean she must stay in the house and receive physical damage. She make seek shelter and help from elsewhere. Hopefully, the help she receives would also address the husband's anger and violence.

"I would hope that you see that my thoughts and comments are aimed at liberating women from oppression and promoting equality, which is not what I would consider something from a "hardened heart.""

I understand your position. My comment "hardened heart" refers to what seems to be your mission to remove the inherent feminine desires in women. I truly think most women would admit to preferring a situation in which they felt their husband could take care of them and protect them. And given that, they would joyfully give-up the 51st vote as it would be a relief from the burden of the responsibility associated with the weighty decisions. Thankfully, I have an awesome hubby, who is both brilliant and caring and who takes my opinions into account on everything. While there are times that things end up going "his way", I've learned to trust his decisions. I realize many women are not a fortunate as I am in this area, but at the same time, a man must grow into a position of leadership and cannot do that if his wife is constantly battling for control.

Tricia said...

"It's forcing women to change behaviors to suit the bad behaviors or attitudes of men instead of getting at the root of the problem...the bad behavior or attitude"

While the situation you describe is possible and certainly does occur, this was not really the case I was describing. A woman does not even have to be "independent" to unintentionally disrespect her man. Words are powerful things. Ever read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? While there is a bit in there that doesn't hold, the communication chapter is quite right on. Also on the the need men have to feel respected, the book "For Women Only" by Shaunti Fieldman is excellent. She surveyed 100 men, I think, and has the results documented in the book. It is not wrong or bad for men to want to feel respect. Just as it is not wrong or bad for a woman to feel loved. Just as a disrespected man will not "feel" as loving towards his wife, an unloved woman will not "feel" respect for her man. This cycle is what ultimate leads to such pain in marriages. In willfully and voluntarily submitting (not meaning being a silent doormat) a woman shows her husband the ultimate respect, which is his deepest desire (see Eph).

"Are you really going to argue that Xians who get divorces are not real Xians? That how it comes across."

No, not at all. But there are a lot of people who claim to follow after God but do not. Many people will say on a survey they are "Christian" though they have never prayed, never read the Bible, or attended church. Therefore such statistics are only helpful on the surface.

"How does an omni-benevolent god justify using slavery as a tactic for punishment? ... Why can an omni-max god not do things differently?"

You're not going to like or appreciate this but: Who am I to judge the God who created all? He uses things to try to get His people to follow Him, because at the end of the day (or world as it will be) it's all about Him and our relationship to Him. Human institutions and how we are to behave within them are a side-note and a means to achieve greater intimacy with God.

GCT said...

Tricia,
"Because he is in general a man of God, who acknowledges his weakness and the sovereignty of the Lord."

Where is the support for that in the story? I can't believe that someone would offer their daughters up and still be called righteous given the opinion that we have today about offering one's daughters. It's because they saw the angels as being of more worth than the daughters. If the daughters get raped and it saves the male angels, then it was a good trade. Besides, according to the law, the daughters may have gotten husbands out of getting raped (a truly disgusting law).

"I am claiming that David may have been more willing to initially accept the sin of "stealing" than adultery. Many people have difficult times owning up to serious offenses, but will often own up to a lesser offense first."

Except that's never even discussed. What is discussed is the idea of stealing. Besides, is adultery the same as stealing? Why convict him of stealing if Bathsheba is not someone's property?

"He can, I suppose. But it is not the ideal situation as written in the Bible. Ideally, submission would be a voluntary withdrawal from the fight for control based on trust, not a forced position based on fear. This is quite clear in Eph."

It is clear that women are being told (forced) to submit, but I disagree that it's ideal or that it's good.

"She may in the case of adultery."

No, I don't think so. Paul allows the man to divorce if the wife is unfaithful, but not the other way around (if I'm wrong, please point out where he allows it).

"And, to not divorce does not mean she must stay in the house and receive physical damage. She make seek shelter and help from elsewhere. Hopefully, the help she receives would also address the husband's anger and violence."

If the husband orders her, then she must.

"I understand your position. My comment "hardened heart" refers to what seems to be your mission to remove the inherent feminine desires in women. I truly think most women would admit to preferring a situation in which they felt their husband could take care of them and protect them."

This is not my experience at all nor is it something that I would want. I think it's respectful for a woman to be an equal partner instead of a submissive. And, it's not about battling for control. There is no reason why the partnership can not be equal and play to the strengths of both partners, vs. a power struggle where one person dominates the other.

GCT said...

"While the situation you describe is possible and certainly does occur, this was not really the case I was describing. A woman does not even have to be "independent" to unintentionally disrespect her man."

If a man feels disrespected simply because a woman decides that she's an equal to him, then that's his problem, not her's.

"This cycle is what ultimate leads to such pain in marriages."

So can lots of things. If a woman asserting herself as an equal leads to pain in a marriage, then the man has control issues to work out.

"No, not at all. But there are a lot of people who claim to follow after God but do not. Many people will say on a survey they are "Christian" though they have never prayed, never read the Bible, or attended church. Therefore such statistics are only helpful on the surface."

They are helpful in this case because the averages would tend to cancel each other out. Actually, in less religious states, there's probably more chance for the types of Xians you describe, which would only serve to strengthen the statistics (not in your favor).

"You're not going to like or appreciate this but: Who am I to judge the God who created all?"

You do it all the time. You've done it in this thread. You've judged that god and his plan are "good." That is a judgement. When presented with things that are not good or just, you can't then demure. Either you can not judge god as either good or evil, or you can judge god, in which case you have to deal with the inequity of using slavery as a punishment tactic.

Tricia said...

"You do it all the time. You've done it in this thread. You've judged that god and his plan are "good.""

But this "judgement" is based on scripture, which is my basis for life:

Mar 10:18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

also:
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


It is therefore not my "judgement" but my faith in God and belief in His Word as Truth. Therefore we are back to faith and trust in Him and His mercy, grace, and goodness, which is the basis for all and the reason His plan for Godly leadership and submission is inherently good. It is only through understanding God's grace and mercy and His desire for us to have intimate relationship with Him that we can come to an understanding of His perfect will. As this is the foundation for all, the rest of the discussion we've had revolves around this. If we never agree on this, then we will likely never agree on the others... Have a great day and may God bless you.

GCT said...

Tricia,
"But this "judgement" is based on scripture, which is my basis for life:"

It's still a judgement. Hence, you either have to agree that we can or can not judge god, but you can't have it both ways.

"It is therefore not my "judgement" but my faith in God and belief in His Word as Truth."

It is a judgement. You've also judged the Bible to be sufficiently accurate for you to put your faith into it. You judge that god is not lying to you. You also judge that god is good and use the Bible (and your culture and your preconceptions) as the tool that you use to do this, but you are still making a judgement.

"Therefore we are back to faith and trust in Him and His mercy, grace, and goodness, which is the basis for all and the reason His plan for Godly leadership and submission is inherently good."

This is circular. You can't tell me that you don't judge god to be inherently good and then turn around and make a judgement statement that god is inherently good. This is especially so when we see god do evil things, like sell people into slavery as a punishment. If you take it on faith alone, then how do you explain the contradictions that arise from that? You can't only take the parts you want and ignore the rest.

"It is only through understanding God's grace and mercy and His desire for us to have intimate relationship with Him that we can come to an understanding of His perfect will."

But, you are claiming that you are accepting this on faith, not as a judgement. Using information to understand the decisions of god and judge them as good is a judgement.

"As this is the foundation for all, the rest of the discussion we've had revolves around this. If we never agree on this, then we will likely never agree on the others..."

And, that seems rather likely, but I try anyway.

What it comes down to for me is that we have a claim that god is good, but yet we see evil in this world, natural evil (that has nothing to do with humans), evil in the Bible, etc. We see a god committing rape, genocide, slavery, and other horrible crimes (through doing it himself or ordering it). This is not consistent with the idea of a loving, perfectly good god.

So, when you tell me that god is good and I point out that he sold his own people into slavery in order to punish them, I won't accept the idea that we can't judge god. We can, or else we can't say whether god is good or evil. I don't see any other rational alternative. If we can't judge god at all, then we can't say that he's good or evil, as that is a judgement, regardless of how you arrived at the judgement. If we can judge god, then we can't ignore the instances of evil that god has done, like selling his chosen people into slavery. If it feels like a Catch-22 to you, that's because it probably is (there may be a way out that I haven't considered, but I and many others have yet to hear it). But, it's not meant to "trap you" as some sort of gotcha, it's simply the logical conclusion of the claims that are being made. If you wished to put forth the idea that god is not perfect or god is not good or god is not loving, then the conversation would be different.

Tricia said...

GCT - please inform me of the basis by which you judge good and evil. That would at least shed some light for me on your perspective.

As far as there being evil in the world, even apart from a particular human's sins (such as disease, death, earthquakes, etc), the Bible tells us in Genesis that death entered the world when Adam sinned (Eve was deceived, Adam sinned). Why did death have to enter? idk. I obviously don't have all the answers about God or His ways. All I know was that He told Adam what the consequence would be if he disobeyed, then God followed through. All evil and death in the world is a result of human disobedience. We live in a fallen world and God works in His chosen people to bring them back to Him.

GCT said...

Tricia,
I apologize for not continuing the conversation. I had to unexpectedly leave the country on business to cover for a colleague who had lost his passport.

If you are still interested in this, I will go ahead and answer your last comment, but I realize that the discussion is probably long dead.

lukeshelby11 said...

well, this is very interesting. i understand that this was posted quite a few years ago, but i would like to add on to the discussion today.

My mom has recently decided to go to classes to become an ordained minister. She hasn't started to take the classes yet. She has asked me to pray for her and pray about the situation.

Tracie, i thank you for these verses and i just want to say that the verse in acts 2 that says
"In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
So women are shown in this passage to have God's spirit and prophesy. "

This is huge to me, because we are in the last days and this verse seems directed strait at us. If this is so, then "sons and daughters will prophesy" This is good to me because it seems to be saying that in the last days, god will use anyone to reach any lost soul. I believe that woman can become ordained ministers because of this scripture, but it all depends on gods will.

What i will be doing for my mom is not praying that she becomes an ordained minister but instead i will be praying that gods will be done. If my mom is suppose to become an ordained minister than god should show that to her, if not than the same should go.

Thank you so much for this post!

Tracy said...

You make a good point lukeshelby11-God does say He'll pour out His spirit on all people who are seeking after Him. Both men and women can be used by God. May your mom find God's leading clear and follow it. It's always wonderful to read about people who want to serve our Lord.

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