Friday, February 17, 2012

Christianity and Gender - - - a comment

This is a comment I posted on this article on the author's blog. My own article on this subject is here.

It was good of you to began with the much discussed Greek terminology on the silence/quietness of women which, ironically, has not quieted the discussion of this subject. Also, a very good point is that Paul urged and encouraged quieteness and orderliness among men and women when praying or prophesying in the assembly. Lastly, the admonition against the haphazard, weapon-like use of the passage is well stated.

Where I do pause is on the connection you draw between the false teachers in I Timothy 1 to include the women in that false teaching. Hence, the apostle's instruction to the women. I understand your efforts to justify this connection in the opening words of chapter two, “Then I urge you first of all…” and then to support it with the patriarchial culture.

There definitely was false teaching. There was/may have been a patriarchial culture, but this key, I believe, towards understanding Paul's instruction to women and which is evident in several of his letters. I am referring to the prevalent dominance of the female culture of Artemis in the very city where Timothy ministered. It was there that the Holy Spirit enlightened the church to Artemis. What the law of Moses was to Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, Artemis was to the Gentiles in Ephesus and Asia.

Paul had himself received no less a similiar instruction directly by the Holy Spirit as he gave to the women when he was prohibited twice from preaching in Asia. Although we never read that prohibition was removed exited then reentered Asia at Ephesus where he stayed two years. It was as much an evangelism strategy by the Holy Spirit as was his direction through Paul for the women. During a time when there was a bit of false teaching at Ephesus and which could potentially have been as bad or worse than Corinth Paul determined this was NOT THE TIME for women, in the female-culture city of Ephesus, for our sisters to take on more than the most passive form of learning and teaching. Paul himself, in a physical manner, was prohibited and restrained by the brothers from stepping into the fomenting mob Demetrius had stirred up in Ephesus in Acts 19.

There are many beliefs attributed to Artemis and although there are various forms of those beliefs these three were pretty much universal. They are alluded to in I Timothy and other of Paul's writings in such a manner that those who had come out of the Artemis cult worship would readily recognize: 1) She was BORN FIRST then turned to assist her mother give birth to her twin brother Apollos, 2) She ensured the succession of KINGS, and 3) She was the SAVIOR of WOMEN. Just in I Timothy 1 & 2 these three are not too subtely countered and refuted by Paul's assertions of Jesus as the FIRSTBORN, the KING and the SAVIOR, not of women alone, but all MANKIND.

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