Pastor Bayly, I agree with what you said, so let me try to clarify what I believe.
First, location is irrelevant to what 1 Tim. 2 says. It doesn’t matter whether it is the church, home, or a California beach, Paul’s teaching applies. When some people try to argue that women should not preach in a church, but can teach pastors in a seminary, that is a ludicrous arguement, and impossible to hold with any consistency. The same would be true for any permutation of that sort of argument.
Second, when Paul says teach in 1Timothy 2, he is making an application of a creational principle, from how God created the world and men and women. I believe he is referring to what could be called biblical teaching or biblical instruction. In other words, it is teaching with a certain type of content. I don’t think he is saying women should never teach anything about the Bible, but that they shouldn’t teach it to men. They could teach children, for example, without violating what 1 Timothy 2 says.
Third, since this is an application from a creational principle, it isn’t limited to this, and many other applications should be made from the order of creation.
Thanks for the continued interaction. I’ll try give my thoughts on the various points you raised.
I agree insofar as there should always be oversight over people who teaching. When in the past I have taught Adult Sunday School at my church, it was under the oversight of my pastor and fellow elders. When my pastor preaches and teaches weekly, it is under the oversight of his co-elders, and in many forms of church government, under a presbytery or something similar. The children’s Sunday School classes at my church, taught by both men and women, are under the oversight of the pastor and elders. In addition, if any member of the congregation has a concern over any of teaching happening at any level, they can bring them up, providing another level accountability, if not actual oversight. Mothers teaching their children should get oversight from their husbands. Oversight is always necessary.
I agree, and often much is done simply by example. However, it would probably require private explanation of Scripture, which you seem to rule out as well. You are certainly correct that many people, men and women, don’t think twice about the propriety of who gives public exposition, many women are comfortable teaching men.
This can certainly be a problem. It’s a problem when celebrity pastors push their internet “ministry” at the expense of their flock, and it’s a problem when women neglect their homes, families, and other responsibilities to spend their time online making Facebook corrections of those they think are wrong. It will always require discernment in those reading ot listening to online material, that it doesn’t take the place of real teachers and authorities in their life, who actually know them and their situations. It also requires discernment on those putting out those materials, to ensure that the motives are good, and they are not sacrificing personal relationships that should be getting their time.
It seems to me that our real disagreement is that you seem to think 1 Timothy 2 rules out any teaching by women, no matter the circumstance or recipient. If you’re right, what do you do with the biblical examples provided by @MrsFyootch, or with commands to both parents to train their children?
Precisely. @bnonn you need to take this into account in your thinking. The scriptural requirement of Old and New Testaments is clear that children are to honor both father and mother, as well as obey, learn from, and listen to both. The clear corollary is that mothers are to teach their children, not just fathers. Is it possible for her to subvert her husband through this? Of course. Likewise, it is possible for older women to subvert the leaders in a church as they fulfill the command to teach the younger women. The care and protection of children is not a responsibility removed from the man and given straight to the woman. In the church it is the same. The men in leadership are not relieved of the responsibility of the care and protection of the women just because the older women are to do part of the work. In fact, we see that clearly in the text. The instruction (and responsibility) is given to Timothy to see that the younger women are being taught the right stuff. By whom? The older women, at least in part.
The pastor and elders that don’t know what their wives are reading or whether it is poisonous are in a bad way. Or if they don’t know what the women’s study is discussing, etc.
I think that a lot of this discussion—and I mean in general, not necessarily in this particular thread—is framed incorrectly. The feminist frame starts from, “What are women in the home/church/world allowed to do?”
I think a better framing is, “What are women in the home/church/world instructed to do?” If we focus on the clear commands and instructions of Scripture, like what Titus 2 women are actually told to teach right in the passage, I think that the question of something like a women’s ministry exegetical podcast comes a lot more clearly into focus.
(And for the record, I have never listened to Sheologians, so I may be mischaracterizing it. But the point stands even if it’s a women’s ministry conference where exegetical teaching by a woman is the focus of the event.)
But this is exactly the kind of teaching I suggested the passage was teaching. My very words were, “It is a motherly role.”
Agreed. That said, obviously it would be strange for a woman to never be allowed to teach a man anything; it’s hard to imagine, for instance, that Paul intended this principle to be so broad that a Christian midwife could not teach a group of soon-to-be-fathers about how to prepare for being a support to their wives during childbirth! This is why, in the past, I have distinguished between teaching per se and teaching, as it were, in God’s stead. The latter would include things like expositing Scripture, declaring the law, and so on. But this distinction isn’t as handy as I originally thought, because obviously a mother (under which I would include a Titus 2 woman; not all motherhood is biological) is to teach her children in God’s stead—presumably provided she is doing so under authority (whether her husband’s or her pastor’s).
Having reflected on this, I think the key problem is in trying to abstract the principle away from the fundamental natural bonds in which it inheres. As you have observed, the key is the creation order. A mother teaches her children. A father teaches his children. What constitutes a mother or father and their children can be broad, and can even include anonymity in the sense that a ruler of a nation does not know most of his own citizens. But there is still a natural relation between him and them on account of the way God has set up nations to function.
Mass media seems to have introduced a very strange and non-natural relationship (not wishing to prejudice us against it as contrary to nature, necessarily), wherein men and women can do things naturally reserved to fathers and mothers, without having any normal fatherly or motherly relationship to those they are ministering to.
I don’t know what to do about this, exactly. I’m mostly just observing how uneasily it fits into the framework of the creation order, which Paul presupposed when he articulated 1 Timothy 2 and Titus 2 to begin with…
Heh, yeah I mean we obviously agree on the broad strokes. What we’re having trouble with is figuring out how they apply, especially (I think) to a world of mass media.
My concern was originally specifically around Sheologians. I keep using the word “uneasy” because I have trouble articulating exactly where the problem lies. You can kind of massage all the principles to say that they’re within the letter of the law. They’re under oversight. They’re only meaning to teach women. They’re a church ministry. Etc etc.
But I still can’t help feeling that something isn’t right about what they’re doing.
There is a certain irony here, because I’ve also struggled with men who have their own ministries without being approved by a congregation. My own contributions to It’s Good To Be A Man would fall into that category, along with my blog. I’m not entirely sure how to fit that kind of thing into the letter of the law, but when I look at other people doing similar things (I’m too close to myself to judge well), I can’t help feeling like there is something right about what they’re doing. There are plenty of ministries that are easy to condemn, but the general idea of gifted men teaching others outside of a more natural relational structure doesn’t seem inherently problematic in the way that it does when women do it.
I know this is all very gut-based reasoning, which is one reason I’m submitting it for critique. I know intuition is easily conditioned into error. But the thing is, this intuition is something that has only emerged as I have become more fluent in the biblical theology of sexuality, and more attentive to the creation patterns God established. Doesn’t mean it’s right…I just want to know why it’s wrong…
Your concern sounds similar to mine regarding the increasingly normal practice of seeking counseling from a Certified Biblical Counselor instead of your (own) pastor. I think the problem is less with the existence of podcasts like that, or with counselors and more about the supplanting and bypassing of first-order natural relationships.
I certainly understand that uneasiness, and share in it with regard to some ministries. I think @jtbayly is right in that it comes from the supplanting of natural relationships that is often occurring in our internet society. If, for instance, I were to tune out my pastor’s sermons because they just weren’t as good as R.C. Sproul sermons available online, that would eventually cause problems in my spiritual life. I think when looking at online ministries, probably especially if it’s being put out by women, prayerful discernment and a biblically informed conscience are necessary, along with making sure they don’t supplant real church community, relationships, and teaching.
As I mentioned over here in our discussion about technology, I’ve begun to read a book recommended to me called No Sense of Place. I’m only 35 pages in, here’s a quote from what I’ve read so far:
Each situational definition prescribes and proscribes different roles for the different participants. When a patient goes to speak to a psychiatrist, the situation determines the range of behaviors for each person. Only one of the two participants, for example, is “allowed” to cry.
There is a chapter later on in the book called “The Merging of Masculinity and Femininity”. Looking forward to it.
Much of the discussion in this thread is grappling with the fact that we can be instructed in many new and weird ways, ways that would have been unknown in Paul’s day. They didn’t even have the possibility of being instructed through a book. So if a woman is to “ask her husband at home,” does that mean she shouldn’t listen to the sheologians? For that matter, should a man ever read Passion and Purity? (That’s mostly a joke, except for the fact that I have read it.)
After 15-20 years of wonderful service by the Online Bible for the Mac, it died last year and I refuse to spend $1,000 with Logos or any other lucrative Bible software company replacing what I already owned. So now I have to use Bible Gateway which reverts to NIV if one doesn’t sign in. Aaargh! Sorry for the error. I wish I had been joking. Love,