Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Ministers Must be Men

"It is very easy for objectors to say that the reason Christian women were not allowed to become religious ministers back in the 'olden time' was because the position of women in society back then would have made the Christian faith disreputable to outsiders if women were allowed to function in this way . . . The problem with this argument is that it is actually the reverse of the truth. The Christian church did not have to exclude women in order to fit right in. Excluding women from the ministry was the odd thing to do. The ancient world was crawling with priestesses, and if Christians had admitted women into their ministry, no one would have raised an eyebrow. The church took the counter-cultural route and did something that made her stand out -- which is, incidentally, what we are being called to do ...
[In 1 Tim 2] Paul then gives the prohibition that has been the cause of so much controversy. It must be said that the controversy exists, not because Paul said something that was unclear, but rather because he said something that is inconvenient for us, especially for those who want to have a ministry as cool as three-hundred dollar sunglasses...

Depending on the issue and the text, liberals are sometimes more to be trusted with the message of the text than conservatives are. This is because liberals are not stuck with the results of their exegesis the way conservatives are. Because conservatives confess that the teaching of the text is normative, the conservative has to make a show of actually doing whatever he comes up with. The liberal can say that the apostle Paul prohibited women teaching in the church -- ho, ho, ho -- but there it is. At least we get an accurate summary of what Paul's position was. The conservative cannot afford to say that Paul was wrong, and -- because whether or not they admit it, conservative churches are pressured by the zeitgeist too -- he cannot afford to act as though Paul was simply straight-up right. What to do? What to do? Time for a Greek word study!"

- Douglas Wilson, excerpts from his forthcoming book, Why Ministers Must be Men

"Consequently, the preacher of the word must not answer to his audience. He answers to the one who commissioned him, that is, Christ. The evaluation of whether a message is right is not to be found primarily in the mortal audience, but rather in the eternal audience. This means that we need men who know how to stand before men as those who will answer to God" (Why Ministers Must Be Men, p. 52).
"Traditionalists are fighting a rear-guard action, trying to keep women out of a post that they clearly more qualified for than men are. Feelings can run high in the debate, but the debate is essentially over whether men only or women and men both should occupy the post of an essentially feminized office. If anyone has the temerity to suggest that we return to the older view of a genuinely masculine office, then both sides in the contemporary debate will stare at him aghast. And it will remain this way so long as girly-men complementarians persist in trying to keep girly women from getting their share of the effeminate action. Because of how we have been backed into a corner, the egalitarians have a real point if they were to say that exclusion of women from ministerial office is arbitrary. When we think of how the modern ministerial call is defined, it is arbitrary, but if we recognize that the Word of God not only excludes women from becoming women ministers, but also excludes men from becoming women ministers as well, we will be on the road to recovery" (Why Ministers Must Be Men, p. 43).
If, as I have noted, our holy fathers used to listen to wise women in ancient times, this is scarcely an argument for us to listen to silly women now. [pg 31]
"If the apostle Paul would not allow an inspirited prophetess -- whose words were from the Spirit himself -- to join in the weighing and sifting of the prophetic utterances, then why would he let her do it just because she has an MDiv from Fuller? (Why Ministers Must be Men, p. 29).

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