Friday, June 10, 2016

Teaching activities of the church that 1) should be restricted to men and 2) should be open to both men and women

My dear French sister Caro, gave me a thoughtful response after reading my previous post entitled; "But, is it correct for a woman to debate? Is it correct for a woman to involve herself in theological argumentation?": My journey on seeking a balanced complementarianism (here)
"Hello dear Kinuko ! The question you are talking about is exactly the trouble I had in my heart about my blog. I was talking about biblical femininity and submission in my blog, but at the same time I was writing theological contents and publishing Bible studies for "teaching" people the need of modesty/submission/headcovering etc...

On the other hand, both men AND women are called to be prophets. A prophet is not silent. A prophet is burning with a godly vision, and the prophet's mission is to alarm, inform, awaken the body of Christ, with the spiritual truth God has poured into our heart. It is not easy to distinguish the right borders. I believe there should be a godly way for women to fully use their intellectual abilities, and spiritual gifts, without ruling over men."

Several days ago, I found the following section from the book called; Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions by Wayne Grudem.
Dr. Wayne Grudem is a research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary and he is a board member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He was the general editor of the ESV Study Bible and is a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version Bible as well.

So, I'd like to quote the section which I think it would be useful for all of us.

Areas of Bible Teaching:
Which Activities Should Be Restricted to Men? (from Chap 2)

(listed in order of greatest to least teaching influence over men in a group or congregation)


Teaching activities that should be restricted to men:


1. Teaching Bible or theology in a theological seminary

2. Teaching Bible or theology in a Christian college

3. Preaching (teaching the Bible) at a nationwide denominational meeting, or at a nationwide Christian conference

4. Preaching (teaching the Bible) at a regional meeting of churches, or at a regional Christian conference

5. Preaching (teaching the Bible) regularly to the whole church on Sunday mornings

6. Occasional preaching (teaching the Bible) to the whole church on Sunday mornings

7. Occasional Bible teaching at less formal meetings of the whole church (such as Sunday evening or at a midweek service)

8.Bible teaching to an adult Sunday school class (both men and women members)

9. Bible teaching at a home Bible study (both men and women members)

10. Bible teaching to a college-age Sunday school class

Teaching activities that should be open to both men and women:

11. Bible teaching to a high school Sunday school class

12. Writing a book on Bible doctrines *1

13. Writing or editing a study Bible

14. Writing a commentary on a book of the Bible

15. Writing notes in a study Bible

16. Writing or editing other kinds of Christian books

17. Bible teaching to a women's Sunday school class

18. Bible teaching to a women's Bible study group during the week

19. Bible teaching to a junior high Sunday school class

20. Teaching as a Bible professor on a secular university campus

21. Evangelistic speaking to large groups of non-Christians (for example, an evangelistic rally on a college campus)

22. Working as an evangelistic missionary in other cultures

23. Moderating a discussion in a small group Bible study (men and women members)

24. Reading Scripture aloud on Sunday morning

25. Reading Scripture to other, less formal meetings of the church

26. Giving a personal testimony before the congregation (a story of how God has worked in one's own or other's lives)

27. Participating in a discussion in a home Bible study (men and women members)

28. Formally counseling one man

29. Formally counseling a married couple

30. Formally counseling a woman

31. Teaching children's Sunday school class

32. Teaching Vacation Bible School

33. Singing a solo on Sunday morning (this is a form of teaching, since the lyrics often have biblical content and exhortation)

34. Singing to the congregation as a member of the choir

35. Singing hymns with the congregation (in this activity, sometimes we teach and exhort one another in some sense, see Colossians 3:16)

*1. Regarding writing a book on Bible doctrines.

"I have put four examples of writing activities here on the list because the author of a book is doing some kind of teaching, but it is different from the teaching of the assembled congregation that Paul prohibits in 1 Timothy 2. The teaching relationship of an author to a reader is much more like the one-to-one kind of teaching that Priscilla and Aquila did when they explained the way of God more accurately to Apollos in Acts 18:26.
When I am reading a book, it is similar to having a private conversation with the author of the book. And there is another difference: Christians often read books they disagree with, but we do not expect the sermon on Sunday morning to be given by someone we fundamentally disagree with. One more difference is that authors of books do not think of themselves as having any governing authority over their readers. "  by Wayne Grudem


Anonymous said...

'I believe there should be a godly way for women to fully use their intellectual abilities,and spiritual gifts without ruling over men.' I feel the same.

For example,by testimonies of sisters,many other sisters are encouraged.Several headcovering sisters published their testimonies,so that I could know about christian headcovering.

I really appreciate our sister's effot for sharing.
We can seek what God ask us to do for his glory,with our intellectual/spiritual gifts also,I think.


Caro said...

Yes, that was also my belief : writing a book is NOT "exercising autority".
That's why I had no problem with having a blog : it is like writing a book.
But I am still wondering if teaching theological things -in general- is correct or not for a woman to do.
Here is a thought crossing my mind : when we are acting with passion to share the truthes God has shown us, it looks like a prophet's job.
Maybe there is an other kind of attitude, for example studying a subject in order to teach about it, without the passion of a prophet, but just with the desire to lead other people and teach them. I feel this is more a pastor or teacher job.
But I am not sure about what I am saying, I am still in search ;)

Jessica R said...

Something that Irina had also mentioned, was that Anna was a prophetess who "...served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:37-38).
Now, this makes me think that women are not meant to be silent in ALL situations related to "speaking of God." But, I agree, that it is hard to distinguish WHICH contexts are appropriate, and which are not.
For example, I disagree with several of Dr. Grudem's points. I don't think that women should be editing study Bibles or writing commentaries on books of the Bible. Contrary to what he says, I do believe there is a certain amount of "authority" involved. Additionally, we women (and I include myself here) need to be very careful what we write about. Even though a blog or a book is not NECESSARILY teaching with authority, it IS teaching/sharing with the INTENTION TO INFLUENCE. The line becomes rather blurry, to me.
That's why I think it makes more sense for women to stick to what Titus 2:4-5 tells women to teach other women: "to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands..." And, we may also share the gospel and our own testimony with others. We may share (but not teach) beliefs that the husband and wife hold in common, as a way of explaining: now here's what we as a couple believe, and here's why--but, if you have any questions, you will need to ask my husband (depending on the topic). A husband, I think, should also review what his wife publishes, since he is her head.
I have a fear, and it is this: that a woman who is recognized as a theological "smart" will end up making her husband feel inadequate and stupid. He would never tell her this, but he might feel it nonetheless. Think of it: women fought for their "rights" to go off and have careers. Even now, some men say, "Go ahead, you're smart, more power to you." Yet, those same men may end up divorcing later on because of the tension and competition that a woman having a career creates within the home.
I have a similar concern with teaching theological matters. If we women press too far in this, could we be creating feelings of tension and competition in our relationships with our husband and other males?
Love this conversation!

Kinuko H said...

Dear Sanae, Caro and Jessica,

Thank you so so much for your honest response. I deeply cherished each comment and appreciate that you are dealing with the issue with me, with all of your heart and mind. Now, the reason why I don't reply longer is simply because I am really not sure about this issue yet and that I might response to you something today and might say something else tomorrow morning,,,so I try to refrain from writing right now in order not to confuse you and our readers.
God bless you abundantly and have a joyful week, ladies! Kinuko