Women as Leaders?
Accepting the Challenge With Scripture
By Nate & Paula Wilson
A Response to Kathryn Haubert's book, Women as Leaders: Accepting the Challenge of Scripture (MARC Publishing)
We commend Ms. Haubert for being one of the very few Christian feminists who actually use the Bible to form their views and who deal seriously with the Bible passages that cause trouble for feminists. It is for this reason that we take her seriously enough to write a response to her book for the sake of Christians who may not be familar wih the other side of the arguement.
We have written this critique together, each reviewing the parts the other has written, and we have spent much time praying and thinking through these issues together and discussing how to offer the teaching in our critique. As we have carefully studied Ms. Haubert's book, we have found serious problems with her teaching. Most of her arguments lack logical integrity or are irrelevant, and she brings to the discussion some bizarre interpretations of Greek words and hermeneutics that twist the Bible's meanings. A cursory reading is impressive and could deceive the reader into thinking Ms. Haubert's are valid interpretations of Scripture. We wish to expose these problems in our critique and bring balance to the discussion.
Our style of reponse will be to go chapter by chapter, page by page, so that our comments can be read as you go along in Haubert's book. This style is necesssarily defensive and my not be the most positive way to present our view. If you agree that our critique is valid, we suggest that you go on to read a book in our suggested reading list at the end of this paper so that you can get an idea of how the Bible's teaching on women can be presented in a positive light.
Please read this critique prayerfully and carefully, with an open Bible, using sound discernment guided by God's Word.
Our prayer for you is the same as Paul's for the Ephesians: We pray "that the God of our Lord Jeus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. [We] pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened..." (Eph. 1:17-18). ~Nate & Paula Wilson
Introduction:A Word to the women--from Paula
If we women were busy doing all we are expressly commanded to do in the Scriptures, we would have little time for lusting after those things which are not as clear. The basic problem is lack of contentment with what we have been given. If we cannot even be faithful with the "little things," then we can hardly seek Godís blessing on our attempts to do "big things." As it turns out, a woman's Scriptural duties ("little" things, perhaps, compared to our aspirations to public leadership) are great. Read Proverbs 31:10-31, I Timothy 5:9-10, 16, and Titus 2:3-5. Make a list of the things a Christian woman is clearly commanded to do, and see if they will not fill her time abundantly enough. Now add to that the development of her personal relationship with God. Where is the time to aspire to leadership? Notice that the husband of the Proverbs 31 woman is a leader in the community (v.23). This is given as one of the godly womenís characteristics! Add "empower her husband to be a Godly leader" to your list of things Christian women are to do.
The truth is that God raises up women for positions of leadership only when there is a dearth of Godly men in the land. Deborah (Judges 4:4-10) was a judge, and Hulda (II Kings 22:8-20) was a prophetess during extremely bad times. Isaiah 3:1-5 gives a picture of such times. Verse 4 says "women will rule over them"! (NIV) (The Hebrew translates literally as "caprices," and the KJV and NAS render this word "babes" or capricious children.") Can it be that we are to this point in America? I donít think so, but if we are, and if you are a man reading this, you had better repent and return to obedient-to-God leadership in His kingdom.
I believe the quality (or lack thereof) of the women often found nowadays in leadership in Godís church is an indication that they are not truly called by God. Anyone God raises up to be a leader of His people will exemplify not only strong leadership ability, but also the other characteristics of a Godly person (Gal. 5:22-23, I Tim. 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9). In contrast to this, the women I have read/talked to/seen who aspire to leadership have the ungodly attitude of "if a man can do it, I can do it better!" God has no tolerance for worship that does not follow His guidelines. (See II Chron. 26:16-21.) If certain positions of leadership are closed to women by Godís guidelines, we should tremble in fear when we see women in such positions. Study the Scriptures!!! What does God have to say about it?
Response to Haubertís Introduction
Pg.2, ∂ 1&2 - It is true that we are to mature in Christ. Such maturity includes accepting the boundaries God has given rather than fighting against God Himself to usurp authority denied to us. God works most freely in us when we are living obedient lives. If Scripture teaches, as we believe it does, that women are to be excluded from certain positions of leadership, yet we encourage women to take such positions in the interest of being fair and allowing women to grow to their full potential, then "Godís divine presence in the church" (∂2) will be hampered. While it may seem illogical to us, it is always best to obey God. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). All believers must assume their proper roles "that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:5).
Chapter 1 - Is God Male or Female?
Throughout this book, Ms. Haubert shows a basic misunderstanding of many believers and churches who feel that women are to be excluded from certain positions of leadership. She also appears to have a problem, as do many feminists, with self-esteem, not being content to find fulfillment in what God has ordained but seeking rather to find her own place in the church.
Pg. 5, last sentence - It is simply not true at all that "women would tend to feel alienated and estranged from God." We are acquainted with many churches for which "female leadership would not be an option." This does not come so much from a view that God is more male than female but rather from the teachings of the entire Word of God. The women in these churches, many of whom we know personally do not feel "alienated and estranged from God." On the contrary, these women are greatly respected and esteemed by the men in the congregation, and these women also have close personal relationships with God, not being estranged from God by a rebellious attitude towards the authorities He has placed over them.
Although we have never seen such a congregation, we donít doubt that there are churches who take this to a non-Biblical extreme, i.e. treating women as inferior. This, of course, contradicts Biblical teaching on proper use of authority. Men in authority are to respect the women "so that [their] prayers may not be hindered" (I Peter 3:7).
Pg. 7 - It is true that the Bible portrays God as male, female, and even poultry! (See Psalm 91:4.) According to Gen. 1:27, both male and female are made in Godís image. However, it does not necessarily follow that we all mirror all of God's characteristics. Males are to image some of God's qualities, including leadership, while females image others, like tenderness. This is not to say that women do not have leadership roles which can be exercised within Biblical guidelines--with children and younger women, for example. (Ephesians 6:1 implies that both mothers and fathers have authority over their own children, and Titus 2:3-4 tells us that older women are to teach the younger women.) Nor is it to say that men should not cultivate the spiritual fruit of gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23 and I Timothy 3:3). If we are to mirror all of Godís characteristics, perhaps we should grow wings!
Chapter 2--Are Women Inferior?
Pg. 11 ∂2 - "Subordinate position" does not equal "inherent inferiority." This is a basic mistake feminists make when arguing for women in leadership. Are all the staff of a given organization inherently inferior (in their own eyes, in other peopleís eyes, or Godís eyes) to the president of the company just because he is the president and the staff must ultimately follow his leadership? Sure, a good president will listen to our suggestions and take our advice into account, but there are/will be times when we have to submit to the decisions of the president (or the board of directors or the managers) when they are in opposition to what we believe should be done. Are children inherently inferior simply because God has told them to obey their parents? No, we are all equal in Godís eyes (Galatians 3:28). Without an authority structure, however, the Church would be in a state of chaos - anarchy.
Pg. 11, ∂2 & Pg. 15-16 - Ms. Haubert attempts to debunk the idea of an "order of creation" as rationale for women being in submission. She fails to mention, however, that the apostle Paul himself, under the divine influence of God, is the first to argue in this way (I Cor. 11:8-9 and I Tim. 2:12-14). In arguing against the "order of creation" theory, Ms. Haubert is arguing against these very teachings of scripture!
Pg. 12 - A hierarchical structure is necessary for orderly work to be done. God is a God of order (I Cor. 14:33). No doubt we would feel better about ourselves if we were all gods, but there would be continual disorder as we would fight to further our own interests (as the many gods did in Greek mythology). Fortunately, there is only one God, and He has established a hierarchy of authority in order for the work of His kingdom to be accomplished most effectively. This hierarchy does not mean that some are better than others. Remember, "Many who are first will be last and the last, first." (Matt. 19:30) God places us in a particular order, but this does not indicate our worth in His eyes. Also remember the sons of Zebedee and their desire to sit at Christís side in heaven (Matt. 20:20-28). We are to be content with the position God gives us.
Chapter 3--What about the Fall?
Pg. 17, ∂2 - The Bible, not just theologians, says that the woman was deceived and thus women are "unfit for...leadership roles." See I Timothy 2:12-14. Paul bases his argument against women teachers on the creation order and the fall (not the current culture). This is Godís teaching. As women, this may grate against our self-esteem, but it is what God says, so we must accept it.
On the other hand, there is quite a difference between "intellectual pursuit" and "leadership roles." It is only right for a woman to study Godís Word and become intimately close to Him as she learns to know Him even better through her intellectual pursuit of Him.
Pg. 17, ∂3 - According to Strongís Dictionary, the Hebrew word translated "rule" in Genesis 3:16 ("Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.") means "to rule...(have...)dominion, have power." Perhaps this is a modification of Genesis 1:26 ("...let them rule over the fish of the sea..."). Yes, woman still has dominion over the other creatures, but she is also now under the dominion of her husband. Whether this is prescriptive or descriptive is of no consequence. Thatís still the way it is. God has provided ways for us to make His curse more bearable, but any attempts to completely eradicate parts of the curse only cause other related problems.
Now, we certainly would not use Genesis 1:26 to justify cruelty to animals, and neither should we use Genesis 3:16 to justify "subjugation of woman." Rejection of female leadership does not have to be associated with domination. There are numerous verses in the Bible that teach leaders to rule as Christ does. The Bible does not advocate tyranny, and we should challenge such an attitude wherever we see it (over women, children, citizens, etc.). Fortunately, there are many congregations of believers with a proper Biblical understanding of this issue.
Pg. 18, ∂1 - "There is no evidence that Eve was Satanís target because of her gullibility, inability, or proneness to deception. There is no biblical statement to this effect." While the Bible does not clearly state Satanís reasons for choosing Eve as a target, it does clearly state that Eve was genuinely deceived (I Tim. 2:14). I Peter 3:7 may be extending this quality of "proneness to deception" to all women: "...live with your wives...as with a weaker vessel..."
Pg. 18 ∂2 - Whether or not woman is the "stronger party" is irrelevant. Both sexes have strengths and weaknesses, and neither images God completely. I Peter 3:7 says that woman is the "weaker vessel," and numerous other passages teach that woman is to be in a subordinate role to the man (Eph. 5:22-24, Col. 3:18, I Tim. 2:12, Titus 2:5). Whether woman is stronger or weaker than man, she cannot be used for Godís greatest glory when she is living in sin by stepping out of the roles God has ordained. As the "head" of his wife, even before the fall, Adam is rebuked by God for following his wifeís leadership (Gen. 3:17).
Honestly, this paragraph by Haubert appears to be an ego trip. According to Scripture, neither man nor woman is better in Godís eyes. Galatians 3:28 and I Corinthians 11:11 both teach that man and woman are equal in Godís eyes. However, woman is to have "a symbol of authority on her head" (I Cor. 11:10), because she was created "for the manís sake" (I Cor. 11:9). As in I Timothy 2:13, God (through Paul) appeals to the order of creation to prove that woman is to be in a subordinate position.
A note here may be helpful. Nowhere are women commanded to obey all men. Women are to obey "their own husbands" (Eph. 5:22, Titus 2:5) and, as all believers, are to submit themselves to the elders of their local church congregation (I Peter 5:1-5) and civil governmental leaders (Rom. 13:1-2). Romans 13:2 should cause us to tread very carefully in rebelling against authority: "Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." How confident are you, woman, that the Scriptures teach that you do not have to obey your husband and male elders but that you should be the one in authority?
Pg. 18, last ∂ through end of section - True. Man/woman is responsible for his/her own sin. Part of the consequences of the womanís sin is that the delineation of authority would now be stronger. Her husband would have dominion over her, just as she and her husband have dominion over the rest of creation.
Pg. 19, last ∂ - True. domination, subjugation, etc. are results of sin. However, man "ruling" over woman is by Divine decree, whether before or after the first sin is unimportant. "Ruling" is not the same as "domination;" domination is the sinful perversion of Godís statement that a husband would rule over his wife (Gen. 3:16). The Hebrew word used for "rule" in this verse does not indicate tyrannical leadership.
Pg. 20 - Being inferior, having intrinsically lesser value than someone else, is totally different from filling a "lower"/"lesser in rank" position in a hierarchy. Leaders must have strong support people under them. While the President of the United States is the major figurehead, the truth is that Congress really runs the country. In our family, Nate is the head, and everyone else is a reflection of his leadership. On the other hand, Paula is the one who takes care of the practical outworkings of Nateís desires for the family. Because of the "subordinate" role God has given Paula in the family, she is in charge of most of the discipline of the children, maintaining peace, order, and cleanliness in the home, etc. Although these are Nateís "commands," Paula is the one with the responsibility and ability to carry them out. Again, when people see our family, they should see it as a reflection of Nate as he leads and gives direction to the family. Paula gets little glory for her work, because sheís with the children and the home many hours of the day. Nate will get the credit someday if/when he is entrusted with the affairs of the church/community when his good management of the family is noticed (I Tim. 3:5 and Prov. 31:23). Can we both be the head of the home? Can we both give commands when there is no one to carry them out?
What if we were all president of our business? Or even all managers? We could all be fulfilled making corporate decisions, but none of the nitty-gritty work would get done! Is it degrading to do the will of your boss in the marketplace? Does it mean you are of inferior worth? Again, Galatians 3:28 teaches that we are all of equal value in Godís eyes. God is a God of order (I Cor. 14:33), and He has given us structure to maintain that order. Seeking a position that is not as "inferior" as the one God has given you is rebellion - the sin of Satan. Satan also aspired to leadership!
Rather than finding our fulfillment in some position of leadership, we must find our fulfillment in being a child of God. Whatever He wants of His women must be the absolute best, and we will glory in it, even if it is foolishness to the wise. "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (I Cor. 1:25). Many women we know who are pursuing positions of leadership do so out of poor self-esteem (i.e. low esteem of the position God has placed one in), seeking proudly to prove themselves somebody, rather than finding fulfillment in Godís design. The "insecure power play" (∂3) is woman clamoring to be boss!
Pg. 20 ∂5 - We believe that the idea of women being treated badly in ancient Israel is simply not true! Think back over where youíve heard such comments and the proof given--itís mostly historical conjecture not based on biblical data, but on the surrounding nations. Most of the bad treatment women receive historically and currently comes from the world. Advertisements that appeal based on a womanís sexual attraction, pornography, etc., cheapen the worth of a woman, so that she is little more than a toy for manís gratification. Think also of the worldís religions--is there a single other religion that gives such a high value to women as Biblical Judeo-Christianity? True believers treat women with the respect due a fellow human being made in Godís image. Perhaps Ms. Haubert knows some men who through some misunderstanding of Scripture dominate the women in their lives. However, true believers striving to model their lives according to the teachings of Godís Word should (and do) treat women respectfully.
Haubertís book presents an extremist, rare position as commonplace, with the aim of angering even women who have never experienced such domination. One is tempted to apply the logical fallacy of "since some men who believe God ordains certain positions for men only also dominate their wives and others under their authority, all men are poor authorities and we women should take over." Compassionate males who read this book might shudder to think that they hinder womenís progress ("dominate" them) and so step aside, without considering what the Bible really teaches. Rather than allowing women to usurp leadership positions because some male leaders are not following Biblical guidelines, we need to encourage men to be Godly leaders.
Our response should not be emotional - to think of women as victims of poor theology and to cater to their carnal egos, trying to affirm them and build self-esteem by placing them in roles of leadership. Rather, we should diligently search the Scriptures, comparing the "clear" passages to the "unclear," seeking to reconcile the seeming contradictions by following the principles in the more direct passages. Then we can seek Biblical ways to affirm women and encourage them in fulfilling their God-given position.
I Peter 3:1 says womenís actions should be such that their husbands will be "won over without a word by the behavior of their wives." This would also apply to a Christian man who is not following Godís word in the area of leading his wife and family (whether he is tyrannical or a couch potato). Nowhere does the Bible say a woman should aggressively prove how great she is. What exactly is the behavior described in I Peter 3:1 "...Be submissive to your own husband..."
Proverbs 31:31 says "...and let her works praise her in the gates." Who is sitting at the gates "among the elders of the land?" Her husband, to whom she is submissive (Prov. 31:23). Her husband praises her as she fulfills her role as " a helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:20). Ah, here is a biblical way to affirm women!
Haubertís is an excellent example of the straw man fallacy of logic - Construct a caricature of someone, exaggerating his faults so that someone who doesnít know him thinks that his faults are all there is to him. Then you can easily discredit him. The picture Ms. Haubert paints of someone who holds to the theological (Biblical) position of excluding women from certain positions of leadership is certainly a caricature.
Pg. 21 (discussion questions) - "internalize your response..." this is another attempt to get you thinking emotionally rather than basing your actions on Godís Word. While it is true that all humanity is equal in Godís eyes, it is not true that restricting certain persons from certain positions is "unjust" treatment. In the words of a rap tune we have, "Come on, what does the Bible say?" If we have been unjustly treated (dominated, subjugated, etc.), the correct response is seen in I Peter 2:20 and 3:1 - submit in order that those in the wrong may be won over to Godís ways.
They say history repeats itself, and so we seem destined to be forever repeating mankindís first sin - coveting that which has been forbidden us.
Chapter 4--Was Jesus a Womenís Liberationist?
The first two pages of this chapter by Haubert are an inaccurate representation of the Gospel! There is not a single verse of Scripture saying that Jesus came to "restore honor and esteem to all who could come to him" (Pg. 24, ∂3) or to "restore individuals...to full personhood" (Pg. 24 ∂4). If Christís mission was to "sabotage the effects of sin..." (Pg. 24, ∂2), then why is childbirth still painful and why does the ground still grow thorns? Indeed, Christ sabotaged the ultimate effect of sin--death. Please read Romans 5:8-10. Christ died to reconcile us to God, not primarily to each other. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death," not dishonor and devaluation of human life as per Pg. 24, ∂3! If anything, this truth should not build our self-pride but should only serve to humble us even more as we realize that we can do nothing to improve our eternal situation.
Yes, we should find fulfillment and worth in Godís love for us, but the truth is that our worth comes only from His love for us. We are certainly not lovely people. If anyone should boast, let him boast in the Lord! Yes, we should find fulfillment and worth in Godís love for us, but this has nothing to do with whether or not women should be allowed to hold positions of leadership in the body of Christ. Indeed, the instructions God gave regarding the subordinate place a woman should take in the home and in the Church were given after Christ came. If He came to "sabotage the effects of sin" (Pg. 24, ∂2), and if that meant the "lower" position of the woman, why would God (through the Apostles Paul and Peter) give such instructions after Christ died to "restore the fullness of Godís blessing to men and women" (Pg. 24, ∂2)? Ms. Haubert correctly cited Luke 4:18-19 as Jesusí mission statement. The sum of this statement is that Jesus has come to bring salvation from eternal death to all mankind. Isnít this the "blessing of Abraham" (Genesis 12:2-3; Galatians 3:14)? Have we sent our missionaries to proclaim that we have all been restored to full personhood or to proclaim that Jesus has made a way for us to be reconciled to God? The "curse of the Law" (Galatians 3:13) is that it condemns us and cannot save us. The Law serves to show us how utterly we deserve death (Rom. 5:13, 20). Christís mission was to destroy sin and death, though weíll have to wait for the final judgment before sin and death totally disappear from the scene. For now, we will still have to deal with the consequences of sin, and that includes staying in the place God has given to us.
If Jesus was truly a women's liberationist, why did he not choose women to be among His 3 or even 12 closest disciples? He didn't seem to care what other people thought of Him, but did what was right instead. If it is right for women to be in these positions of leadership, why did Jesus not start women off on the "right" foot?
Pg.24, 2nd section, ∂1 - We do not wish to adamantly defend a list of standards that did not come from the Bible, but it seems that the list of 6 "atrocities" Ms. Haubert gives here contain some good, practical safeguards for the virtue and role of women:
-"Participation in public activity was taboo" - In light of the Bible's teachings that women have so much to do (Prov. 31:10-31, Titus 2:3-5), something important may be left undone if a woman leaves her home to be involved in a public activity.
-"discussion with a scholar in the streets a disgrace" - I Cor. 14:35 states clearly that a woman is to learn from her own husband at home. We may not like this, but that's what God says. Perhaps a woman asking questions of a "scholar in the streets" was indicative of an insubmissive attitude (to both her husband and God).
-"teaching and bearing witness forbidden" - See I Tim. 2:12 for God's thoughts on whether a woman should teach a man. If by "bearing witness" Ms. Haubert means prophesying, then she is mistaken. Several women in Bible times prophesied, including Huldah (II Kings 22:8-20), Deborah (Judges 4:4-10) and Philip's daughters (Acts 21:9), though they apparently did not prophesy during times of public worship.
-"being alone with a man out of the question" - and we would be wise to follow this today! How much trouble did you get into when you and your girl/boy friend/fiance were alone? How many "one-night stands" would be impossible if all outings were chaperoned? This is an excellent way to protect a woman's virtue, chastity and reputation by "avoiding the appearance of evil" (I Thess. 5:22).
-"A married woman could not be looked at or greeted." -Again, this could have been an attempt to "avoid the appearance of evil" and was probably a custom designed out of respect for a woman and her husband.
Of course, these safeguards can degenerate into dehumanizing attitudes, as they have in the Muslim world, but a healthy, Biblical respect for the role of women will be shown by men who practice these customs in an attempt to protect and care for their women.
Pg. 25, ∂2 - "[Jesus] openly taught [women] when most rabbis shunned it as unacceptable." We're not sure where Ms. Haubert gets her understanding of Bible times. I Cor. 14:34-35 implies that women were indeed present in the synagogue, receiving teaching from the rabbis, but v.35 clearly states that women are to reserve their questions for their own husbands at home. This is not some legalistic custom but a command from God.
Because Jesus and other Christians treat(ed) women as equals spiritually does not necessarily imply that Jesus would have them be leaders. He trained his 12 male apostles for this, sending them out on missionary journeys. When the time came to replace Judas (Acts 1), there were many women present, but a man, Matthias, was chosen by God.
Pg. 25, ∂4 - Yes, Jesus' teaching was clearly for both male and female. What does this have to do with women in leadership?
Pg. 27 Excellent questions. Add this one: In light of Scripture's teaching of women's roles, can you still find fulfillment and satisfaction in Jesus' love for you as a woman?
Chapter 5-Did Paul Dislike Women?
Pg. 29, last ∂ - True, except possibly the idea that men and women are "equally gifted." In light of other Scriptural teaching on the subject, we would have to argue that some of the gifts are restricted to men only. However, I Cor. 12:4-5 says there are "varieties of gifts" and "varieties of ministries." Just because men and women have similar gifts does not mean that these gifts cannot be practiced in different ways. Women are restricted to using their gifts outside of positions of leadership in the church.
Now Haubert begins a list of "clear" Pauline teachings. Upon reading the actual passages, however, we find that they do not clearly teach that women are allowed to hold positions of leadership in the church. At best, the connection is somewhat vague, and some of the cited passages do not even mention the concept of women in leadership. It certainly was a stretch for our imaginations to see how Ms. Haubert managed to tie some of these verses in to the subject at hand.
Pg. 30, First full ∂ - "In Ephesians, the mutuality of men and women, as modeled by Christ's self-sacrificing love, is the road to unity." Ephesians 4:24 tells us to "put on the new self" and follows a long list of exhortations as we strive to live the Spirit-filled life (Eph. 4:25-6:20). In the midst of this list, wives are told to be subject to their own husbands "as the church is subject to Christ" (Eph. 5:24), while husbands are given Christ's self-sacrificing love as a model for loving their wives (Eph. 5:25). What a challenge, men! Consider these phrases that should characterize your love for your wife: "Gave himself up for her," "that she should be holy and blameless," "love...as [his] own body," "nourish and cherish" (Eph. 5:25-29). God-given authority is not tyrannical! Does your love for your wife cause her to be "holy and blameless?" Do you "give [yourself] up for her" in your daily decisions?
"Philippians clearly shows that women held responsible positions in ministry" - Where? The only possible reference in the entire book of Philippians is one verse (Phil. 4:3), which states "help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel..." How does this "clearly show that women held responsible positions in ministry?" Perhaps these women gave financial and prayer support to Paul. The book is, after all, a thank-you note for financial support. Whether or not they were female, they were apparently not qualified to be in positions of leadership anyway, as the previous verse tells us that they have been bickering, and I Timothy 3:3 says that overseers are to be "uncontentious."
"Colossians calls men and women to mutual responsibility (3:12-13, 18-19)." Yes, Colossians 3:12-13 gives specific instructions to all believers about how to treat each other. In Colossians 3:18-19, however, we see that our "mutual responsibility" may be divided into different roles. Women are to be subject to their husbands, while the husbands are to love their wives. (Does this mean that women are not to love their husbands? The very nature of submission with a right attitude causes us to develop a love for those to whom we submit.) While a woman is to be submissive to her husband, he is not to take it as an opportunity for tyrannical leadership. Rather, he should love his wife, which would necessarily include regarding her as "more important than himself" (Phil. 2:3) as he exercises his authority over her.
"And I Timothy offers evidence for the inclusion of women in the church office." - Where? If Ms. Haubert is referring to I Timothy 3:11, she has again chosen a rather unclear passage. The Greek word translated "women" [gune] could be translated as either "wives" or "women" while unmarried women (virgins) were referred to by another word [parthenos]. Paul's choice of [gune] and his teaching a few verses later in I Timothy 5:9, 10 & 14 and again in Titus 2:3-5 on what married women were to be busy doing would imply that I Timothy 3:11 is indeed referring to a male deacon's qualifications, which include the character of his wife. That the character of one's wife would reflect on himself is logical, as I Corinthians 11:7 teaches that his wife is his glory. Also, Proverbs 31:23 lists the character of one's husband as a quality of a Godly woman.
If married women are doing what God (through Paul) commands elsewhere, the position of "deaconess" would necessarily only be open to unmarried women who are free from the duties of husband and home. However, Paul did not choose to use the word [parthenos] to give qualifications for single women to be deacons. Verse 12 also implies that the deacons were men, as does the fact that the qualifications for women are contained in one small verse in the middle of the longer passage giving qualifications for deacons. Why would female deacons have such a small list of qualifications? We believe the passage is telling us that a deacon should have a good wife who is a helpmeet and not a hindrance in his ministry.
Pg. 30 ∂2 - TRUE! Our identity should be found in Christ. However, "role" and "identity" are not the same things.
Pg. 31 2nd full ∂ - last half of last sentence does not necessarily logically follow. It is true that discrimination breaks unity. It is not true, however, that differing roles for men and women equals discrimination.
Pg. 31, 3rd full ∂ and following - Galatians 2:11-21 has nothing to do with leadership but is a discussion of whether conformity to the Law is necessary for Gentile Christians and whether that is enough to break fellowship between believers. This was apparently a large problem, as circumcision (Gal. 2:12) is referred to frequently in the New Testament (Rom. 2,3,4; I Cor. 7; Gal. 2:5,6; Eph. 2:11; Phil. 3; Col. 2,3; Titus 1). Logically then, if this passage is what Galatians 3:28 is referring to, men and women should be free to fellowship in mixed groups.
It seems more likely however, that Galatians 3:28 is speaking of our status in view of salvation. (Remember, some cults, including Mormons, believe a woman can only attain heaven on her husband's coat-tails.) Paul goes from Galatians 2:11-21 into a lengthy discussion about whether conformity to the Law is necessary for salvation, including an explanation of the necessity of the Law and ending with the triumphant conclusion that we are all "Abraham's offspring" when we "belong to Christ" (Gal. 3:29). So, conformity to the Law is not the way of salvation. While stating this, Paul adds that male/female and slave/free distinctions do not matter in this case, either. We are all "heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). Again, this passage does not address the different roles assigned to us. (It seems logical that slaves may not have been able to hold certain positions of leadership either, as their time was not their own and they may not have been free to travel, attend meetings, etc., perhaps depending on whether their master was saved.) It is also interesting to note that the parallel passage on this subject (Col. 3:11) does not mention the male/female distinction.
Pg. 85, #59 - Excellent quote: "The unity is not one...in which ethnic, social and sexual differences vanish, but one in which the barriers, the hostility, the chauvinism, and the sense of superiority and inferiority between respective categories are destroyed." Whoops, Haubert undermines her own arguments by stating this!
Pg. 32, 1st full ∂ - "A man does not hold special rights that are withheld from a woman." The definition of "special rights" varies depending on the perspective of the individual. It is truly a very special privilege to rear Godly children and support your husband as he becomes more of the man God wants him to be.
"Equal standing in Christ is not just a spiritual reality without implications for community living." This is true. We should not look down on anyone else simply because they are a different race, sex or social status. Scripture is full of admonitions concerning how we should live in community with each other. James 2: 1-9 speaks directly to the subject of showing favoritism to some men over others. Notice, however, the wording of verse 4: "have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?" (emphasis mine). This is clearly wrong, but it is important to note that the distinction which God has ordained (separate roles for the sexes) is something entirely different.
Pg. 85 #61 - This footnote assumes Galatians 3:28 must necessarily teach something new and different from the Old Testament. Perhaps Galatians 3:28 is merely a restatement of truth that had been overlooked or distorted. Remember, the Jews of Jesus' time didn't get that the Old Testament taught that salvation is for the Gentiles, but that doesn't mean God was throwing in a new twist after Jesus came. (See Gen. 12:3, Psalm 67, Isa. 12:4, Hab. 2:14, etc., etc., etc.)
Pg. 32, last ∂ - "Thus the blessing is woman's promise of a new status and role. It is the promise of a life of full ministry potential (fruitfulness) and a life of authority (dominion) on an equal level with all members of the body of Christ." Again, this does not logically follow. Just because we can find fulfillment and esteem in Christ does not mean that we step into new roles. In fact, our fulfillment and self-esteem should come from contentedly filling the roles God has ordained. The fruitfulness mentioned in Genesis 1:28 is specifically physical, and dominion given is over animals. This does not necessarily teach that a woman may take the same ministry opportunities and leadership roles that a man may. Ephesians 1:3, cited in Haubert's previous paragraph, simply praises God that He has "blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." This says nothing about giving positions of leadership to women.
Pg. 33 - At last! The long-awaited list of actual female leaders of the early church. We were very impressed, until we began looking up the verses that mention these women. Our purpose here is not to say that Ms. Haubert's interpretation of these passages is necessarily impossible. The passages are so brief and unclear that we are left much room for speculation. However, when we consider other passages that are very clear (I Cor. 14:34-35, I Tim, 2:12), Ms. Haubert's interpretations become unlikely at best.
Pg. 33 ∂1 - Perhaps the house churches met in these women's homes. Maybe they were widows or their husbands were unsaved, thus only the woman's name was listed.
Apphia (Philemon 2): is mentioned between Philemon and Archippus. Then it says, "and to the church in your house." The three apparently lived in the same home. Mentioning a woman's name to greet her or to specify where the church met does not necessarily indicate she had a position of leadership. (It would have been rude to greet only the men!) Perhaps this woman simply had the gift of hospitality (a very behind-the-scenes gift) and that's why the church met in her home! Perhaps the "church in your house" refers to the last name mentioned, Archippus, a male. Perhaps the "church in your house" is meant to greet the other believers who lived there--Remember, "church" does not necessarily mean a particular congregation but can also mean simply "the people of God."
Nympha (I Cor. 4:15): See above. A greeting does not necessarily mean she was a leader, but a friend. Probably another case of hospitality. Again, "the church that is in her house" may be a reference only to other believers who lived in Nympha's home. In fact, the Greek pronoun referring to the word "home" is different in different Greek texts: Some say "her house," some say "his house," and some say "their house!" So not only is there no indication that this person held authority in the church, there is no telling what the gender of this person is. This text, therefore, cannot be used as conclusive proof in an argument on this issue; merely stating that the church is in their house does not prove she/they were leaders.
Priscilla & Aquilla (I Cor. 16:19, Rom. 16:3): Pg. 86 #65 - Mentioning Priscilla's name first does not necessarily indicate that she was a leader in the church. These were good friends of Paul and it is only natural that he'd greet them both warmly.
"[Greeting Priscilla first] may have been due to her having the more impressive personality of the two, although some have inferred that her social rank was superior to his" (Bruce, Pg. 271). It doesn't necessarily indicate her leadership in either family or church matters.
Chloe: I Corinthians 1:11 and surrounding verses do not even mention a church meeting place! "Some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you." Apparently some of Chloe's children or servants told Paul about divisions within the Corinthian church. It is quite probable that Chloe was either a widow or was part of the church when her husband was not, and that is why Paul refers to the household as "Chloe's."
Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis: footnote #63, Pg. 86 attempts to prove that these women were leaders in the church. However, working hard for the Lord, even at missionary or pastoral duties can include a lot besides having leadership roles: prayer, finances, discipling/evangelizing other women, encouraging the missionary/ pastor, etc. Again, this passage is not conclusive evidence for Haubert's argument.
Junia (Rom. 16:7):
"'well known to the apostles' is improbable" (Douglas, Pg. 37).
"From the fact that these persons, Andronicus and Junia, were Christians before Paul, and that they were distinguished among the apostles, Origen infers that they were of the number of the 70 disciples. This is a conclusion without premises. Such conjectural reasoning imposes on many, as it has the appearance of giving us additional information and containing nothing contrary to the Scriptures, but it affords a mischievous precedent for perverting the word of God, and in no instance can it be of any service" (Haldane, Pg. 637).
"They were 'of note among the apostles,' which probably means that they...were apostles themselves (in a wider sense of the word) .... their title to apostleship may even have been based on their having seen the risen Christ" (Bruce, Pg. 272).
"'of note among the apostles' may mean that they were apostles themselves ... the word 'apostles' would be used in a more general sense of 'messenger' (cf. II Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25). Since, however, the term has usually in Paul the more restricted sense, it is more probable that...these persons were well known to the apostles and were distinguished for their faith and service. The explanation is ready at hand; they were Christians before Paul and, no doubt, were associated with the circle of apostles in Judea if not in Jerusalem" (Murray, Pg. 229-230).
The bottom line is that it is possible to interpret "Junia(s)" and "apostle" either way you want. However, in light of other Scriptural teaching, it is safe to say that there was no female apostle with leadership position in the early church.
Mother of Rufus (Rom. 16:13) "who has been a mother to me, too" hardly indicated leadership. More likely, love, support, and encouragement came from her.
Julia and the sister of Nereus (Rom. 16:15): Again, not greeting the women would have been rude; this hardly indicates that they were in positions of leadership.
Priscilla (I Cor. 16:19; Rom. 16:3): Haubert repeats Priscilla's name to make her list of examples appear longer. But Haubert has already just mentioned her, and we've already dealt with the question of Priscilla's position in this section.
Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2-3): See #63 above, and our comments at the beginning of this chapter. The passage says absolutely nothing about whether these women were in a position of authority or not. This is the only mention of them in the Bible, and the gist of the passage is that Paul is asking the Philippian church to break up a quarrel between the two women.
Phoebe (Rom. 16:1-2): is not called a leader, but a "servant." From the context, she is apparently visiting the Roman church to ask for some sort of help. This does not necessarily indicate that she was a leader in the church in Cenchrea; she may have been sent by that church to ask help for the church or perhaps she needs help personally and Paul was verifying that she was a good woman by saying that she was a "servant of the church in Cenchrea." It is also possible that she was in Rome for some reason (visiting family, possibly delivering Paul's letter) and Paul is telling the Roman church to take care of her while she's there.
"In the majority of the hundred occurrences of the words [diakonow, diakoneo, diakonia] there is no trace of a technical meaning relating to specialized functions in the church... Basically [diakonos] is a servant, and often a table-servant, or waiter... The more general sense is common in the New Testament, whether for royal servants...or for a servant of God.... In the New Testament, however, the word never quite loses its connection with the supply of material needs and service" (Douglas, Pg. 297).
In conclusion, we see two things:
Therefore, the answer to the title of the chapter, "Did Paul dislike women?" is a resounding "NO!" But Haubert's attempt to establish precedent for women in leadership has failed.
Bruce, F.F., The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, Tyndale Press, London, ©1963.
Douglas, J.D., Organizing Editor, The New Bible Dictionary, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, ©1962.
Dana and Montey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, The Macmillan Company, New York, ©1927.
Haldane, Robert, The Epistle to the Romans, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, Geneva Series of Commentaries, ©1958.
Murray, John, The Epistle to the Romans, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, ©1965.
Chapter 6-What Does Headship Mean?
Pg. 39, ∂2--"This would dramatically affect the male-female relationship, particularly the one between husband and wife. We would expect women to take a subservient role. This attitude fosters an erroneous assumption that there is something inherently inferior about women." While Ms. Haubert is correct in her statement that practicing the concept of headship and submission in the home will dramatically affect the relationship between the husband and wife, her expectations are incorrect.
We know many homes where these concepts are actually practiced Biblically, i.e. the husband is loving in his leadership and the wife is submissive not only in her actions but also in her heart and attitude. When we observe these homes, we see a radically different picture than the one Ms. Haubert envisions. The husband is grateful for the abilities his wife brings to the marriage and is happy to put those abilities to good use, allowing her the freedom to make most purchases, keep the finances in order, run the home as she sees fit (as long as the end result is peace and order), etc. His heart "trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain" (Prov. 31:11). Of course, the husband will give suggestions and even "orders," although they are so lovingly given that his wife is pleased to implement them. When a decision needs to be made, the first counselor the husband seeks, after God, is his wife. He knows that any decisions he makes will affect her and the rest of the family. The husband is confident that his wife will respectfully give her opinion and then pray for God to give her husband wisdom to do the right thing, content to abide by his decision, quietly suffering any negative consequences. Although it is somewhat frightening to trust a fallible man to lead her and the family, the wife knows that she can trust God to take care of her when she obeys His commands to obey her husband. The wife respects her husband for his imitation of Christ as he leads her and desires to do his will, knowing that he will notice and be pleased with her. She is definitely not subservient or inherently inferior in either his eyes or her own, although the world, and even the church, might see her actions that way. Instead, there is a mutual respect and love as they each fill complementary roles.
All of this may sound idealistic, and both husband and wife may struggle with sinful tendencies (to be domineering in his leadership, to be prideful in her submissiveness, etc.), but the more common result is that the husband feels overwhelmed to have such a wonderful wife, and the wife feels overwhelmed to have such a wonderful husband! This may not seem logical to our human wisdom, but such is the wisdom of God!
p.40-41 - Although the meaning of [kephale] may include such a concept, "life source" cannot be the full definition. In Scripture, woman is never referred to as the head [kephale] of anything, yet Paul states clearly in I Cor. 11:12 that woman is the life source of man! (He identifies man as the source of woman in the same verse.) This leads us to believe that "kephale" must have a fuller meaning.
Col. 1:15-18 gives a list of things that Christ is before: "firstborn of every creature," "before all things," "head of the body, the church, "firstborn from the dead." Certainly the concept of "head" as "source" would fit the context here. Verse 18 gives the reason that Christ was "before all things," etc. -"that in all things he might have the preeminence [proteuo]." Strong's Dictionary defines "proteuo," as "to be first (in rank or influence):--have the preeminence." This implies authority. So, Christ is the head of the church - in order that he might have the ultimate authority.
Eph. 5:23-24 sheds further light on the subject. "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church....But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." We are to be subject to Christ in all things. Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). I John 2:3 says, "And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." This is how wives are to be subject to their husbands - by obeying them, even as the church is to obey Christ. Christ's desires are not optional for the Spirit-filled believer. Neither are we to obey with our actions and not with our hearts. Yes, there are many things that we do not have to do in order to be saved, but if we are truly saved, we will want to obey all that Christ commands, in His inerrant word, the Bible.
In Spiros Zodhiates' Lexicon to the Old and New Testaments [kephale] is defined as "...the head, as the superior (Eph. 5:23), as the husband of the wife (I Cor. 11:3), Christ of the Church (Eph. 4:15, 16; Col. 2:19), and of all principality and power (Col. 2:10, cf. Eph. 1:22); so God the Father is designated as the head of Christ in His manifestation as man, or as the divinity is superior to the humanity (I Cor. 11:3)."
Re-defining [kephale] is simply a diversion tactic used by feminists to help you forget the many verses that refer to the husband-wife relationship without even mentioning the husband as head. Eph. 5:22, Col. 3:18, Titus 2:5 and I Pet. 3:1,5,6 teach that a woman is to submit herself [hupotasso] to her husband. Strong's Dictionary defines [hupotasso] as "be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto." [Hupotasso] is the compound of "hupo" (under) and "tasso" (to arrange in an orderly manner). There seems to be no way around it; wives are to place themselves in a subordinate position to their husbands and obey them, so that life can be orderly.
Before we toss submission out the window, we need to consider the consequences of our actions. Titus 2:5 puts it in a nutshell: "...being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored."
Pg. 40, ∂3--Certainly the "notion of serving the body in a creational, nurturing, or representational dimension" is consistent with the Bible's teaching on leadership. Referring to Eph. 5:21-33, Haubert states, on the bottom of p. 41, "Christ's headship to the church (v.23) is paralleled to his love, care, and nurture for the church (vv. 25-33)." Men need to study Christ's example as they imitate His headship in their families.
Pg. 42, ∂ 1 - While Christ has certainly given the church dominion in this world (Mt. 16:19; 18:18), the church is still to obey Christ. It is heretical to imply that we have equal authority with Christ and yet do not have submit to His will in all things. A man can certainly delegate authority to his wife (child-training, managing the home, finances, etc.), but she is still to submit to her husband's will in all things.
Pg. 42 & top of Pg. 43- There are many accurate statements on this page concerning Christ's example as head of the church. Headship is not tyrannical. The last sentence of the second paragraph is revealing: "The church in turn responds with a loving trust and dependence." Can a wife not respond to her husband in like manner rather than attempting to usurp his authority?
Pg. 42, last ∂ and top of Pg. 43--True. Men need to learn how to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25).
Pg. 43, 1st full ∂--Great, but that union is not always perfect. When conflicts arise, who makes the final decision? Do decisions get left unmade when you can't agree? Who wins? The loudest? meanest? most demanding? Ugly qualities, all. It is equally appalling to see two people so submissive to each other that no decisions can be made. The old comic strip comes to mind where the two gentlemen are bowing with their hats off to each other saying, "No, I insist; after you, Gaston!" oblivious to the fact that a car is about to run over them because they are still standing in the street. Someone has to make the final decision.
Pg. 44--While I Cor. 11:8 says that woman came from man, verse 12 states that man comes from woman, so it doesn't make sense to apply this argument in favor of "head" as "source, origin," etc.
Contrary to Ms. Haubert's thinking, it is Biblically correct to say God is the "chief, boss, or ruler," especially if we follow Ms. Haubert's argument that the sentence structure of I Cor. 11:3 is that of historical chronology. Heb. 2:9 talks of Christ as "made for a little while lower than the angels." Phil. 2:6-8 suggests that even before he came to earth Jesus, "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped...becoming obedient to the point of death...."
Jesus came to earth under the authority of God the Father. On more than one occasion, Jesus stated that He was being obedient to His Father (John 5:19-47, 6:36-40; 7:16-18, 28-29; 8:26-29; 10:18-29; 12:44-50; etc.) and said in the Garden of Gethsemane, "not my will, but yours be done" (Mt. 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42) Jesus made it manifestly clear that He was in subjection to His Fatherís authority.
In light of all this, it is certainly consistent to interpret [kephale] as someone in authority.
Chapter 7--Are Women Subordinate?
This title is like asking if all frogs are green--Some are; some arenít. Some women choose to be subordinate, and others sin by not being so to proper authority. Others have a warped understanding and feel like they are inferior to everybody.
Pg. 45, 1st∂--"For 19 centuries in the Christian church, women almost invariably had a subordinate position to men." It is a very serious thing to challenge the teachings of nineteen centuries worth of Godly men. While non-Biblical traditions can take hold for a long time, it does seem suspicious that only in the last century have women begun clamoring for leadership roles--right behind the women in the world. Maybe we are letting the world dominate our thinking again.
Pg.45 ∂2--Yes, subordination to authority is voluntary, but it is a false assumption that non-feminists believe women are somehow inferior intrinsically.
We also agree with Haubert on the point that things are imbalanced when the woman is properly submissive, yet the husband is a jerk. But a trap that feminists fall into is the fallacy of generalization: Since some men are jerks, therefore ALL men are jerks and NONE can be trusted to fulfill an authority role. A feminist that has made this logical fallacy easily moves into the antinomian heresy: "If my husband won't obey the rules, then I won't obey them either."
Pg. 45 ∂4--The definition of [hupotasso] given by the time-honored standard, Dr. James Strong, indicates more obedience and subjection than Haubert's quote of Barth and particularly Beard express. Only lately have people started re-defining the Greek word in an effort to squirm out of the teachings of the Bible on authority. This word "subjection" or "submission" can be either voluntary or involuntary (not solely the former as the quote states), and it literally means "to place in an orderly way under." (Zhodiates Lexical Aids to the N.T.) Therefore the conclusion that Haubert draws is, at best, highly debatable.
Pg. 46 ∂1-- See above Paragraph. We are clearly not to seek involuntary servitude, as Paul urges slaves to work toward becoming free (I Cor. 7:21) and for all to stay out of financial debt (Rom. 13:8). We agree that in civil government, the church, and in marriage, submission is voluntary--it is an act of the will. There are, of course unusual circumstances in which one must be insubmissive to one of those authorities in order to obey the higher law of Christ, but usually WE are the ones sinning when we show an insubmissive spirit. This is rebellion, which God says is "as the sin of witchcraft".
Just because submission is a voluntary act does not mean we can choose whether or not to do it. If we love God, we will obey Him--even His instructions to submit to proper authorities. Not committing adultery is a voluntary act, but we still must voluntarily follow that law or get punished!
Pg.46 last∂--Anarchy and chaos are the inevitable result of "erasing any notion of authority." God clearly did set up a chain of authority, and those who deny it will indeed need to literally take an eraser to their Bible to be consistent with themselves! We cannot accept the first sentence, but within the context of any structure of authority we can exercise deference and love, as Haubert beautifully states in the following paragraphs.
The mutual submission is to be done "in the fear of Christ" (Eph. 5:21), and is addressed to all the members in the church, not specifically to husbands and wives, so we cannot use this passage to erase what the verse following it teaches and what dozens of other passages in the Bible teach.
Pg. 47 ∂4--An illustration of this is that Abraham did not "obey" his wife (as Haubert says); God merely instructed Abraham to "listen to" his wife. When Abraham did so, he decided to grant her wish. There was an authority structure: GodÞ AbrahamÞ Sarah, but within that framework, Abraham could show love and deference to his wife without losing the authority God had given him. That only strengthened the bond of love between himself and his wife and gave her more trust in his ability to be a good husband and gave her freedom to submit herself to him without fearing that he would neglect her.
Incidentally, the same wording is used of Adam: "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife..." (Gen. 3:17). Adam got into trouble for that. While it is good for the man to listen to his wife, it is up to the man as the final authority in the home to decide whether it is right or wrong to take his wifeís advice.
This is consistent with the repetitive theme of the marriage relationship and authority structure mirroring the authority and relationship of Christ and the Church. Jesus is under no obligation to obey us; He is our authority and we must obey Him or be sinful rebels. But within the context of that authority structure, Jesus shows us great deference--ultimately by His death on the cross. This allows us to respect Him all the more!
Coming back to the passage in question, wives are to submit to their husbands "as unto the Lord" (Eph. 5:22) Women should place themselves under the authority of their husbands just as they respect, obey, and love Jesus Himself.
Pg.47 ∂5--Although, as Haubert says, the logical arrangement of words does not say the husband should not submit to his wife, there are two things which prove that inversion false: 1) If the wife is to place herself under the authority of her husband, there is a chain of authority established that cannot be simultaneously turned on its head and still be true. and 2) An injunction to husbands to submit to the authority of their wives is noticeably absent from all Scriptures dealing with this subject!
Furthermore, Haubert makes a grave hermeneutic mistake at the bottom of the page: She says that the phrase "in the same way" preceding the injunction to husbands in I Pet. 3:7 refers to the injunction to wives in v.1, but if you look at V.1 you'll see that it, too is preceded by the same phrase ("in the same way")! Both the injunction to the wives in v.1 and the one to husbands in v.7 actually refer to previous verses where Peter speaks of submitting to proper authorities. Haubert has to admit this in the next paragraph!
Pg. 48 ∂3--Notice that Haubert says Christ was submissive, although that is not in the Bible text. Christ was not submissive to us but rather to His authority: God the Father. But even as our Lord, He can exercise "servant leadership." This is the model which husbands should follow--the servant leadership Christ exercised, not the anarchy Haubert advocates.
One last point: The primary text used in this chapter of Haubert's book is written in the context of persecution. Peter says to Christians who are being persecuted by their civil government to obey those authorities anyway. To slaves who are suffering when they did no wrong, he says to work hard and obey the master anyway. To wives married to unbelieving husbands who cause them emotional and perhaps physical grief, Peter says to submit anyway and not complain! Haubert and other feminists argue that because these structures are abusive, the authority should be abolished, but that is the total opposite of what Scripture teaches!
Pg. 48-49--We wish to affirm Haubert's admonition to practice self-sacrificing, considerate, servant-like attitudes like those which Jesus displayed. This is indeed a crying need among those who are invested by God with authority, be it civil, ecclesiastical, or familial.
Chapter 8--Who is in Authority?
Pg. 51--Haubert begins this section with several accusations leveled at those who believe in a Biblical authority structure. Let us address each accusation:
Women are placed in a powerless position. This is not bad if the power over you is good. Ideally, the authority over a godly wife is a godly husband and God Himself--not bad at all! Furthermore, women are ordained by God with power to do different things. Do men have the power to have babies? No; God has given us different realms of power. Greed for power is not in keeping with a Christ-like servant heart.
It does not allow their decision-making powers to develop. This is absurd! A woman makes decisions all the time as to what clothes to wear, where to shop, what to eat, how to care for children, and how to relate to her husband. An excellent wife and mother develops excellent decision-making powers. The woman of Prov. 31 made such wise decisions that her husband trusted her to purchase a field to use as a vineyard--the text is clear that she "considers a field and buys it" (Prov. 31:16).
Women feel less valued. This is not true unless someone sins. The husband may sin by belittling his wife, or the wife may sin by being discontent with her God-given status, feeling like the only way to be valuable is to be masculine.
Women lose the opportunity to mature in many areas. This is true. We cannot be like God and know all things. We are finite and are limited in the areas in which we mature. The sexes must diversify their knowledge so that there is enhancing synergy rather than frustrating limit-reaching and competition. It is foolish for women to strive to be like men and vice versa. God, in His Word, teaches men and women to pursue different things.
The church and family lose wholeness in leadership. The word "wholeness" is unnecessarily biased, because it implies that leadership is not whole unless there are men and women in the same positions of authority. Those who bar women from church eldership have better Scriptural grounds than the feminists have for their view. We believe that when women take eldership, God's rules are violated, and the church loses God's blessing and suffers from it. If feminism is against Godís pattern, women who take on church leadership will fare no better than King Uzziah, who thought he could improve on Godís design for worship by burning incense himself rather than going through the priests. God struck him with leprosy (II Chron. 26:16-21).
We do not, however, believe the Bible teaches that women are barred from leadership in the church, as Haubert falsely assumes. The Bible instructs older women to teach the younger women (Titus 2:3-4); this is a place of leadership, and what better place to exercise it than in the church? The Bible also teaches women to be keepers at home (Titus 2:5), practicing hospitality (I Kings 17:8-9; II Kings 4:8-11; Rom. 12:13; I Ptr. 4:9); this is also an important place of responsibility in the Church. Children are another responsibility in which women can exert tremendous leadership. There are also many aspects of service and worship in which women can offer their gifts, as in helping the needy, prayer and prophecy. And, finally, the influence of women who are excellent help-meets to their husbands is incalculable on the leadership of the Church.
Where we depart from Haubert and the other feminists is in saying that God has ordained different roles for different sexes; it's not a male conspiracy! "If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?" I Cor. 12:17
Inequities are breeded. Yes, indeed, thank God we are not all identical cookie-cutter robots. God has given us different abilities and gifts. We run into problems when we get jealous of other people! Godís view of equality has nothing to do with the roles or gifts He gives people.
It fosters the wrong use of authority. Although Haubert has not defined the "wrong use" of authority, I think we can safely assume that she means abuses where men treat women with contempt. This statement implies two things: a) God ordained things poorly by saying men should exercise headship and eldership and b) If we'd just let 50% of our women be leaders, nobody would ever abuse authority again. We hope you see the absurdity of these statements.
Pg.52--That is a neat Bible study on authority. Haubert makes a good point that Jesus used authority to help others, and we should follow His example. When authority is used to increase prestige or to gain more possessions and more power, that is wickedness.
Authority, however, must be obeyed or punishment results. Sometimes God exercises patience as in two of the cases cited by Haubert--the times when Jesus did not allow the unrepentant city to be destroyed or the soldiers at Gethsemane to get hacked up-that wasn't the proper TIME to execute judgment. Yet when the fig tree did not produce for Jesus, he used His authority to wither it (Mt. 21:18-19). When Jesus returns, the time will be right to use His authority to cast many people into hell. This is still selfless service, but of an unpleasant kind. As another example, take the discipline of children: Since the Bible says "Children, obey your parents" (Eph. 6:1), we have God-given authority over our children. If we do not love our children and our children disobey a command we give them, we would at best ignore their behavior. However, since we have been given authority over our children and we love them, we will take time out of our busy schedule to carefully instruct and discipline them (Eph. 6:4). Haubert neglects this aspect of authority.
Pg. 53--In the previous chapter, we pointed out the problem of separating authority from servant leadership. We beg to differ with Haubert here too. Jesus did not turn the organizational chart upside down, but rather turned the understanding of leadership upside down. Did he designate Peter to be the Messiah when He washed Peter's feet? No, but he blew his disciples minds when the Messiah performed a servant's task. This is an important distinction that Haubert seems to miss. Haubert thinks she is attacking the whole concept of authority and doing away with it, but what she really is doing is exposing the right and wrong strategies of leadership exercised by those in authority.
Pg. 53 end-Pg. 55 beginning--If you ask 10 different Christians about the meaning of I Cor. 11:2-16, you will get about 10 different answers. The hypothesis proffered by Haubert as to what precipitated Paul's letter is indeed plausible. From our research, we believe the situation to be just as Haubert states, but that Paulís response was to explain that equality in Christ does not negate the authority structure; the covering should still be worn as a symbol of submission to oneís own husband.
Pg. 53--"Head"--Haubert rightly assumes that the head covering is an article of clothing worn to cover the physical head but wrongly applies the meaning of the covering. It is not merely an assertion of femaleness; it is an assertion of the authority structure. Again Haubert tries to do away with the authority structure clearly taught in this passage by using only part of the meaning of a Greek word [kephale]. Yes, the word contains a meaning of "source," but it also denotes authority. What part of the body decides what to do and then tells the rest of the body how to do it? The head. Some scholars go to ancient Greek texts to find the meaning of [kephale], but this would serve no better than to find the Greek meaning of the word [agape]. The Greek language has a wide range of synonyms and the New Testament writers often chose lesser-used synonyms and endowed them with unique meaning that is learned from the context, but not found in other Greek books. It is also improper to assume that headcoverings were an assertion of female-ness; remember that followers of Judaism who are males wear the yarmulke! This passage teaches that the men should remove their covering while praying (which is why men in our culture still doff their hats when prayer is said), but that women should not also discard their coverings in the name of equality. The statement in v. 6 that a woman who refuses to wear a covering should also have her head shaven is not implying that she would be like a man, but rather that she would be like a slave or a prostitute, both of whom had short hair or shaved heads. Haubertís argument that a shaved head represents masculinity therefore, is not necessarily accurate. What Paul is teaching in this passage is that there is a chain of authority that goes: God the FatherÞ God the SonÞ HusbandÞ Wife. Paul is instructing the wives to wear a symbol of the power structure between her and God on her head when praying or prophesying. Why? The women were to remember to be respectful of these authorities and submissive to them. It also is a witness to the angels (perhaps because Luciferís sin was that of stepping out of submission to Godís authority?)! The covering is a reminder that although a woman may pray and prophesy, she is to remain in submission and not become proud. Note that praying/prophesying in public does not necessarily indicate a role of leadership in the church.
We disagree with footnote #98. Verse 3 says, "the head of the woman is the man." Verse 5 does not say that a woman dishonors herself by not wearing a covering. The Greek text specifically says "head of herself." If "head" is to be interpreted literally here, it just wouldnít make sense. How would you dishonor the upper part of your body by praying with it uncovered? Haubertís concession that v. 4 uses head in the figurative sense (authority, representative) is correct, and it is illogical to say this does not hold true for the very next verse which has the exact same construction. A woman dishonors her husband if she discards her covering, thus demonstrating an impudent, insubmissive attitude. What man is not ashamed to have a wife with this sort of attitude?
The reference to the womanís physical head being shaved is to say that a man would be dishonored for his wife to look like a prostitute, and it is the same when she uncovers her head.
Pg. 55--The rest of the page is good. By affirming the authority structure, we also affirm the value and power of women.
"There is no parallel for [exousia]" is just a complicated explanation designed to confuse those not familiar with Greek. What Paul is teaching in I Cor. 11:3-11 is that a woman should act as though under the authority of her husband and under the authority of Christ and wear a symbol of that line of authority on her head. It is just God's way of creating order in the Church. Why He chose to put women at the bottom of the chain is His own will, just like why the one man in the parable of the stewards received only five talents while the first received 10. It's not "fair;" it's just the way God does things.
Pg. 56--Haubertís assertion that Paul uses the word "woman" first and then "man" in verse 11 is not true. The Greek text starts with "man" first. The translators of the NIV and NASV were simply making less cumbersome word order in using the word "woman" first. Haubert should not have wasted half a page of argument on that word order without looking it up in the Greek!
We have to totally disagree with Haubert as she destroys the very intention of Paul in this passage of teaching on the authority structure. But we do agree that the headship of man does not change the fact that he needs his wife and there is "interrelatedness."
One last point not central to Haubert's arguments, but frequently brought up by other feminists is the belief that this passage applies only to a special case or a certain time period and culture. We believe that "ALL of scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching..." (II Tim. 3:16) We refuse to take the cue from certain feminists and take scissors to our Bible, trying to decide what applies to us now and what is irrelevant. We applaud Haubert for seeing this passage as relevant while so many other feminists dismiss it from the discussion outright--even though we heartily disagree with her conclusion. The practice of women covering their heads has been (and is) almost universal in the church in all cultures and time periods for thousands of years. The fact that feminists in our country around the turn of this century have thrown off the headship veil is no reason to count it culturally irrelevant! Perhaps it is our culture that is wrong--not the Bible!
Pg. 57--I Cor. 7 is talking about mutual submission (See also Eph. 5:21 & Phil. 2:4). There are times for mutual submission, including your sex life. It says specifically "her body" and "his body," talking about sexual intercourse, not a general principle to apply to all of life.
Paul specifying "mutual consent" may indicate that this is an exception to the general rule of decision-making. It's great when you agree together, but there are times when someone has to make the final decision. Sex, however, is so important that Paul gives special instructions. If you can't agree to abstain, then you mustn't abstain, no matter who is on which side. Abstinence can open the door for satan's attacks, so Paul gives special rules: mutual consent, short time, for prayer only. God knows what is best for us, and He knows that a man can fall into adultery more easily when he is not consistently physically intimate with his wife. How many of our Christian leaders today would not have fallen if had they followed Paulís advice here?
Another point in favor of this being a special case instead of a general rule is that I Cor. 7 starts with the phrase, "Now about those things you wrote..." Paul is answering a specific question addressed to him in a letter, not teaching general principles of decision-making.
Pg. 58--I Timothy 2:12. Going back to classical Greek writings is not necessarily helpful in defining words because the Bible was written in a different type of Greek (Koinea), and authors often infused words with their own meanings. Also, Paul used the word "authority" without modifiers like "absolute," "bad," etc., so it must be close to the same meaning as "authority." Furthermore, Haubert gets so caught up in nuances of meaning that she misses the point: the word [authentien] means "authority"! Strongís Dictionary of the Greek New Testament defines the word [authentien] as "to act of oneself, i.e. (fig.) dominate: --usurp authority over."
Verses 11 and 12 are not making different points, as Haubert thinks. They are saying the same thing! A woman is:
Verse 11. . . . . . . | .Verse 12 . . . . . . ..
"to learn". . . . . . | ."not to teach" . . . ..
"in quietness". . . . | ."to be silent" . . . ..
and "full submission" |."not to act of herself"
. . . . . . . . . . .| .or to "usurp authority"
Furthermore, it is illogical to argue, as Ms. Haubert does, that Paul is speaking only of a wrong type of authority, "lording over" oneís subjects. If that were the case, why is this in a section written expressly to women? Are men permitted to exercise abusive authority while women are not? We think not.
Pg. 57-∂3--good instructions for men as they seek to be Godly leaders.
Chapter Nine--Can Women Teach?
1st section--Haubertís examples of female teachers are far from conclusive:
Huldah-In bad times, God raised up women as an exception to the rule. In Huldaís day, the high priest didn't even know the Torah existed! Bad times spiritually are not to dictate how things should be. There is nothing in the passage to indicate that Huldah taught other prophets or was even in a school of prophets, as Haubert says. Haubert has proved nothing by making this pie in-the-sky guess and using that as proof for her argument.
Deborah-another example of bad times spiritually. In fact, God cursed Barak by giving the glory to a woman (context indicates that this is shameful), because he would not assume his God-given leadership as the army captain (Judges 4:8-9). We believe that female leadership is not ideal, but that God uses women leaders in bad times. Deborah's judging may well have been God's way of getting Israel out of a pinch. The word "judge" has a variety of meanings, usually meaning government leadership, but it can also mean that the person simply was a peacemaker between arguing parties.
Miriam- led only the women in singing a song after crossing the Red Sea. This does not support Haubert's conjecture that Miriam led men! Micah 6:4 says nothing conclusive: since Aaron and Miriam were Moses' brother and sister, and they were prominent, it is only natural that all three siblings would be listed together. Nowhere does it say that Miriam had authority over men, and the only place in the Bible where we see Miriam leading is in leading other women in song.
Pg.60--We've already showed in a previous chapter that Haubert's examples of female "co-worker, deacon, and apostle" are not conclusive enough to use as sole evidence for an argument.
Priscilla-taught with her husband. She is not mentioned separately. Therefore it is logical to assume that the couple as a team was talking to Apollos in their own home. Priscilla was not standing in the pulpit and preaching! Whatever she may have said was with her husband present and with her husband's agreement and authority. Haubert can't legitimately use this to support her argument that women should teach in church meetings.
God does speak prophecies through women (Miriam, Huldah, Deborah, Anna, Phillip's daughters, I Cor 11). However, Haubert assumes that prophecy and teaching are the same thing and bases her whole argument on the rules regarding prophecy, saying that therefore teaching is also legitimate for women. This is not true; all she has proved is that prophecy is legitimate. The Bible spells out that prophecy and teaching are two different spiritual gifts. The praying, prophesying, and singing--vocal participation--which the Bible teaches a woman should exercise in public worship do not include teaching--that is a different activity. Although Haubert brings in I Cor. 11:5 to buttress her weak argument, it has nothing to do with teaching; it is irrelevant to the argument.
Haubert's examples of women in leadership are not "conclusive," "clear" etc. Therefore we cannot say, "Since this is true, we must re-interpret other Bible passages." On the contrary, we say, "Although Haubert has made a case for examples of female leadership, none of them are conclusive, therefore we cannot reinterpret other Scripture to fit this view which has no conclusive examples."
I Cor. 14 was not written to just one church as an exception to the rule, as Haubert says. Rather, Paul says women's silence should be exercised in the "churches." Paul only used the plural of "church" to refer to all the Christians in the world or in an entire Roman province, not just one local church in one city. Secondly, Paul puts NO qualifier on his statement such as: "Women are to keep silent [in a certain place or at a certain time]." It is totally unqualified, meaning at all times and all places. Thirdly, Paul refers to Old Testament "Law" as his reason for making this command, so this is not a new command or a special circumstance; it has been the practice of God's people in worship for thousands of years previous! Therefore Haubert's pre-conceived notion that this text is for a special case is unfounded.
Pg. 61--A Contradiction? There are two acceptable schools of thought:
1) The most common interpretation is that this passage is defining how to keep order in a worship service, as Haubert points out later in the middle of Page 63. The point is not, "Exactly how silent?" it is keeping order by not having any talking apart from what directly contributes to orderly worship, so it is fine for a woman to sing, pray, or prophesy, but not to carry on conversations with people or otherwise disrupt the worship.
2) The other most plausible interpretation is that this passage obviously refers to public worship, whereas the link to public worship in the I Cor. 11 passage is weak. Therefore, according to I Cor. 14, women should be totally silent in a worship meeting (except perhaps for liturgies or songs in which everyone participates). But, according to I Cor. 11, a woman may pray out loud or prophesy outside a public worship meeting context, such as in her home or in conversation with people in day-to-day life. There is not a single instance in the Bible where a woman prophesied in the context of a mixed worship meeting.
Pg. 61-bottom-Pg. 62-top--The Bibleís word translated "Silence" certainly does mean to be completely quiet and is used by all (not just women) in the exercise of keeping order in public worship. Again it must be broken down into the two schools of thought:
1) This viewpoint would fit Haubert's explanation at the top of page 62. The context is key here: the injunction concerning women in v.35 as defined by its context does not rule out participation in worship--only talking and conversation not related to the public worship of God, not edifying for all ears to hear, not disruptive.
2) Again, the distinction comes in the context of the passage: Does Paul, in I Cor. 14:30, forbid all men at all times to prophesy or speak in tongues when he says to keep silent? Of course not! The context is to keep silent momentarily while others are speaking and then speak in turn. But the context of the injunction concerning women's silence (I Cor. 14:34) indicates that this is not a momentary silence after which they can speak in turn, but a continual silence.
Haubertís use of v.31, "For you can all prophesy..." is rather out of context. The point of the verse is not that everyone can prophesy, but that all the prophets should not speak at once: "For you can all prophesy in turn..."
Pg.63--Self-control: This is indeed key--especially to school of thought #1 (above).
One issue that Haubert ignores in this whole discussion is the issue of authority. In the church, we have elders who are our authorities, and the husbands also exercise authority over their wives. In worship meetings, this chain of authority must still be respected. A wife must show respect to her husband in the meeting, and all must show respect to the elders. The young are also to show respect not only to their parents but also to older people (I Peter 5:5). Those things don't go away when you enter a worship meeting.
Pg. 63-bottom--I Tim. 2:8-5: This passage is talking about the differences between men and women in their participation in worship and in life. Men lift holy hands in prayer (The Greek word used here is "men" rather than "people".); women don't dress ostentatiously, don't teach, and do have children.
Pg.64--Haubert's hypothesis about the need for women to adopt a learning posture because they had not been taught before is quite plausible.
Pg.65--To step from this hypothesis and redefine the Scripture, however, is not permissible. Haubert asserts that the phrase "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent" is temporary until the women learned enough to be good preachers. But she ignores the context of the verse: Paul appeals to an event at least 4,000 years previous in a different country as his basis for making his statement! If Paul wanted to make this prohibition temporary, he would have said something like, "until she has attained wisdom" or "because she is unlearned." Rather, Paul appeals to creation and the Fall and then goes on to state a major function of women beyond the realm of the church (childbearing). Paul is making blanket statements about the continuing roles of men and women according to their gender in this chapter of I Timothy.
Next, Haubert contradicts her own interpretation of the word "have authority." On page 58, she was stating that this word used in I Tim had a different meaning than [exousia] in I Cor. 7:4, but now she is equating the two terms! Secondly, a universal rather than temporary interpretation of I Tim. 2:12 does not "sidestep I Cor. 7:4" because the word "authority" in I Cor. 7:4 is specifically limited to the physical body of oneís husband. I Tim. 2 is talking about spiritual authority over all the men and women in a church congregation.
Haubert goes on to say that teaching of the Scriptures does not necessarily carry authority, but she does not prove her claim. Then she states that the Bible applies greater status and authority to prophesying, again without proving her claim. Since she has stated a controversial claim and offered no proof, we should not be inclined to believe her right off the bat. But when we think about it, we see that Paul gave the role of teaching the Scriptures to those with the most human authority in the church, the elders. Jesus was constantly condemning the Pharisees because they were abusing their authority as teachers. James 3 says that God judges teachers more closely. It takes tremendous character to teach. But the prophets--all kinds of people prophesied, both good and bad, male and female, God's people and heathen. (Neither Saul nor Baalam are exactly people to emulate, yet they prophesied!) The key is that prophecy is essentially God Himself speaking, carrying God's own authority, so it doesn't matter much who is His mouthpiece. But teaching must be done by mature, wise, Godly men whose lives are worth copying.
Finally, Paul did not say "at the present time;" he said "I do not permit." If Paul, who is much more learned in the Scriptures and who has seen God and been to the third heaven followed such a practice, we think it's wise to do the same!
Pg. 66--Haubert says that I Tim. 2:13-14 cannot mean what it seems to mean because:
1) Being second in creation does not necessarily equal inferiority. Haubert assumes we are teaching that man is "best" and woman is by implication less than best. But this is not true; everything God created is GOOD. God was egalitarian in the quality of his creations. Haubert has a personal problem in assuming that she is not important in God's eyes if she cannot hold the same positions of authority as a man. Haubert ignores the fact that it is Paul the Apostle making this statement inspired by God, not some "fundamentalist" male chauvinist. For some reason, God created man first and has given man authority. We can't argue with God.
2)Paul must've been talking about the Corinthian women's lack of opportunity to learn. So she brings up a bizarre new interpretation of Scripture which may fit verse 12 in isolation, but doesn't fit when you look at verses 13-15.
3) Women are permitted to teach other women and children. Being easily deceived would certainly disqualify someone from exegeting Scripture. Older women are to teach younger women practical living--to love their husbands and children, work at home, be subject to their husbands, etc. (Titus 2:3-5) Nowhere does the Bible suggest that women are to exegete Scripture to anyone, younger women and children included. Haubertís attempts in citing I Tim. 1:5 and 3: 14-15 to show that Timothyís mother and grandmother taught him the Scriptures are unconvincing. To be consistent with her earlier claim that women were uneducated, it is only logical to assume that Timothy was taught the Scriptures by a male Levite in a boys-only school.
We're afraid that Haubert does not truly understand the purpose and function of authority. As long as we are alive we will have authority over us. You cannot have identity without authority--there will always be someone over you--parents, husband, governor, president, boss, church elder, club chairman, etc., and ultimately God is over all those authorities. Without authority you can never have unity. It is foolish to try to explain the Bible in an authority-free vacuum, as Haubert does. The two purposes of authority are to restrain evil and to unify groups of people to good ends. Without a foreman, the workers will turn idle and inefficient. Without law enforcement, criminals would never get punished and crime would skyrocket. Authority provides a system of checks and balances against sinful human nature and unifies people to do good works.
Paul limits women from taking the top positions of authority--church elders and deacons, who do the general ruling, teaching, and serving over the entire local church. But he tells Titus in chapter 2 to let the mature women teach the younger women. Paul does not say that just any woman should do this. Women, in their mature years, are able to discipline themselves to restrain the nature of Eve (deception), but if they do slip, there is an authority over them (male elder or husband) without the nature of Eve who can help them stay true. This is the beauty of God's system of government.
Pg.67--I Tim. 2:14 says, "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." Paul is making the point that the female, Eve, was the first to be deceived, therefore women need an authority over them to insure that it doesn't happen again.
Then Haubert says that "this ban on women teaching was not final," as though she will prove it in the ensuing paragraph, but goes off on a bunny trail about Greek words that has nothing to do with her assertion at the beginning of the paragraph. We cannot accept her novel interpretation of the passage without some real proof.
On to v. 15, where childbearing is mentioned. Haubert does beautifully here in explaining the coming of Messiah through a woman and the coming of subsequent generations through woman.
Pg. 68--The word "saved" means inclusion into God's kingdom and the subsequent growth into Christ-likeness, not the freedom from being grounded from teaching. Paul never mentions any of the qualifying words that would be necessary to give credence to Haubert's hypothesis--"for a time," "untaught," "temporarily," "then they could teach," etc.
Every tenet of Haubert's argument is very shaky. Nowhere in the Bible can you find a woman teaching with legitimate authority over a mixed meeting of God's people. Nowhere in the Bible to you find an injunction for a woman to teach a mixed assembly. Instead, the Bible teaches that it is inappropriate for women to teach men and possibly to exegete Scripture at all.
Chapter 10--Should women be leaders?
Pg. 69--As we read the first paragraph, we are struck by the way Haubert makes women in leadership of churches to sound like a great advance that has finally come about in this late century--yet some of the most terrible things in history have come about in this century: world-wide wars, one in three babies aborted, homosexuals in church leadership, one out of every three Christian teenagers having pre-marital sex, skyrocketing divorce rates, thousands of divisions within the church, etc. We do not believe that the church nowadays is better than it was a thousand years ago!
At the bottom of the page, referring to I Cor. 12, Haubert says, "This chapter clearly shows that racial, social, or sexual distinctions do not determine the distribution of divine gifts." We ask, "If it is so clear, why can't we find any reference to what Haubert is talking about?" We find it interesting to note that v. 13 specifies "Jews or Greeks, slave or free," but does not specify "male or female," which would seem important if Paul was making a statement about gender and the distribution of spiritual gifts. This passage has absolutely no negative statement such as, "God's distribution of gifts is NOT based on gender."
I Cor 12 DOES, however, contain positive statements that are the primary teachings of this passage, namely that it is GOD Who determines who gets what gift; we are to appreciate the gifts He gives us, and we should use them for the benefit of the body of believers. To apply this distinction to an example, I could take a bunch of children and give them all a toy. As I hand the toys out, I could say, "Stop arguing, children! Let ME decide what toy is best for each of you." For one of the children to infer from that statement that I was not making distinctions based on race or gender would not logically follow. I have not limited myself to not giving gender- or race-appropriate gifts. It would only be appropriate to give a dark-skinned doll to a beautiful little black girl. She would not want a can of "Slime with worms!"--which might thrill a little three-year old boy! God is a giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1), not random gifts. Age also enters into the picture--it is only reasonable that we not let immature people teach; God wants the older ones to do that as a general rule (Titus 2:4). What Paul is warning against is the very thing that Haubert is doing--wishing to have a different gift.
I Cor. 12 should be a comforting passage to those with behind-the-scenes roles in the church. Paul states that such Christians (which would include women) are to receive "special honor" (v. 23). Verses 24 & 25 teach that such special honor is to be given in order that there be no division in the church. This is both a challenge to those in visible, "leadership" roles and a comfort to those in less-visible, perceivably "less honorable" roles.
Pg. 70--"folded arms." Haubert makes the assumption that God actually gives leadership gifts over the body of Christ to women, an unproven assumption. If God does not give those gifts to women, it is understandable that a woman would meet with disapproval if she tried to exercise a gift not dispensed to her! Proceeding from the unproven assumption that God gives universal leadership roles to women in the church, Haubert concludes that the church has suffered as a result. When we walk into a congregation where mature, Godly men hold leadership, we don't see suffering; rather, we see strength and wisdom and we are refreshed.
Haubert goes on to recap her teachings throughout the book, which we have dealt with in the appropriate chapters. The first point is her abolition of authority, which we have proven absurd. The second is the Bible's rules governing worship, which she has thrown into the garbage.
Pg. 71--Next, Haubert attacks the order of creation basis for male leadership, ignoring Paul's teaching in I Tim. 2:13 & I Cor. 11:8-9. Finally, she appeals to the descriptive vs. prescriptive interpretation of Gen. 3. The pulling of weeds in our gardens is not making things better, it is playing right into God's curse that we have to work by the sweat of our brow. God has made childbirth painful, work hard, people mortal, and serpents without legs. That's just the way God made it and that's the way it will be, whether we like it or not. These are part of God's design, and He has made even this to "work together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). Can you imagine the increase of wickedness that would come if sinful humanity had unlimited lifespans, loafing around without work to do, and satan had no limitations? The ordering of woman under man is also for our good.
"lordship VS servanthood" Next, Haubert recaps her misinterpretation of headship--using only half its definition and ignoring the concept of authority. And finally she re-recaps the order in worship thing again with her unprovable hypothesis that is not indicated by scripture.
Pg. 72--Haubert goes on to recap her position on Phoebe in which she states that Phoebe was probably both a deacon and a pastor. All we can properly infer from Romans 16:1 is that Phoebe helped a lot of people in the church in Cenchrea and was a good Christian who should be welcomed when she went to Rome. We believe she may have had the gift of helps, which is a wonderful gift and fits the context much better while also fitting with God's prohibitions against female leadership. At the top of pg. 73, Haubert has to admit that Paul probably was referring to her physical assistance (perhaps giving him food and shelter), but that doesn't stop Haubert from going beyond the scope and meaning of words and of the text to make Phoebe out to be an example of a female church pastor!
As we have already discussed, [diakonos] could mean a specific position in the church (which, incidentally, is a serving position rather than an authority position), or it could mean "servant" in a very general sense of the word. Haubert admits this in footnote #145. While the Greek words [prostatis] "help" and [proistemi] "rule" are related, Strongís Greek Dictionary of the NT defines [prostatis] as no more than a "patroness" or "assistant." The word has nothing to do with governing, though Haubert attempts to make it so using the "guilty-by-association" trick. Haubertís statement that one who served the NT church necessarily also governed the church is not Scripturally supported.
Pg. 73--Then comes Junia, another totally improvable case, as we have discussed earlier. It is impossible to tell whether they were "outstanding among" or "well-known to" the apostles. This is not a case to base an argument on, because it is so debatable; we should go instead to places where God makes it clear. Haubert has to admit on page 74 that "there is no evidence that women were elders in the early church."
Pg. 74--Haubert visits next the qualifications for elders and deacons. In the middle of the page, she states that I Tim. 3:2 means "that the elders at that time and place were men, and these men happened to be married." But if we look at the previous verse we see that this passage is not descriptive of men already in eldership but is prescriptive for "anyone aspiring to overseership." When Paul gives a similar list of elder qualifications to Titus it is for the purpose of his determining who to appoint as "elders in every city, as [Paul] had appointed [him]" (Titus 1:5). We still take these lists of qualifications to be prescriptive of how overseers and deacons ought to be rather than descriptive of only that time. We believe that it is wise to have married men with older children in the leadership of the church because most of the people in the church are married and have children and need lots of advice and someone to look up to in family matters. Since the Bible teaches that overseers/elders/bishops and deacons are to have one wife and are to have reverent children, anyone who is not married with well-disciplined children is in a shaky position for church eldership.
"Deacon's wives?" Again, Haubert ignores the context. There is one little verse on qualifications for wives/women (the word is best translated "wives") in the middle of the qualifications for deacons. The "Likewise" refers to the reverence, temperance, and faithfulness expected of all. If this were a separate office of "deaconess," we would expect it to follow the qualifications for deacons, not interrupt them. Paul switches back to the male deacons in the next verse and continues on with qualifications for deacons. Thus it is more logical to see the qualifications for "women/wives" as somehow a qualification for a candidate for deacon. This indicates to us that the passage is talking about deacon's wives, as the ministry of the deacon would be greatly undermined if his wife were ungodly.
Secondly, the one verse of qualifications for women says nothing about their ability to lead or to teach, whereas the lists on overseers and deacons have requirements in those areas, leading us to believe that these women are not taking the role of deacon, but rather are the wives of deacons.
Perhaps the reason that the NT has no technical term for the word "deaconess" (see footnote #159) is that there is to be no such office!
It is also possible that deacons and their wives were to function as a "deacon team," since the term "deaconess" does not appear in the Bible without the context of the "deaconessís" husband being a deacon.
Pg. 75--It is NOT "clear" elsewhere that women were counted in the office of deacon in the Bible if Phoebe is the only example Haubert can point to and that one is so debatable. (Haubertís footnote #159 confirms that being identified as a "deacon" does not necessarily mean one held an office in the church but merely that he/she served people.)
Titus 2:3&4 directly instructs older women to teach younger women; it does NOT say "let the older women teach, being careful not to neglect the teaching of the younger women." The way the passage reads indicates that the recipients of an older womanís teaching would necessarily be younger women. Titus 2:1-10 contains instructions to all believers, divided into categories based on age, gender, and social status. It does not indicate that older women are to hold a position of leadership and authority in the church, but rather that older women are uniquely qualified to teach the younger women in matters of home and family life. This act of teaching does not require an official position in the church.
Let's turn Haubert's logic into a syllogism:
a) Titus 2:3&4 instructs the older women to teach the younger women
b) Titus 2:3&4 does not prohibit an older woman from teaching others
c) Therefore older women are to take leadership in training others.
Does line c follow from the two previous? Let's use the same logic to promote bisexuality among church leadership:
a) I Tim. 3:2 teaches church overseers to be husband of one wife.
b) I Tim. 3:2 does not prohibit an overseer from also having a male lover.
c) Therefore, overseers should be leaders in bisexuality.
The logic is exactly the same as Haubert's.
[sunergos]-Once again, we see that Paul was not a male chauvinist; he valued the work of women. Not all of Paul's fellow workers had the same gifts: Some were messengers, others were prayer warriors, others gave hospitality or encouragement to Paul, others were scribes, and some were church-planters. Being a fellow-worker with Paul meant that Paul valued all of these gifts in ministry, not that all of these people were preachers. Contrary to Haubert's commentary on Euodia and Syntyche in Phil. 4:2-3, there is absolutely no implication that these women had authority in the church. These women were simply quarreling and Paul was asking a mediator to break it up.
Pg. 76--I Tim. 5:14 is talking about young widows; Paul lays a case that they should marry and have children and manage their house rather than become gossips and busy-bodies. Notice that the management is over the house, not the husband. When we look at what the Proverbs 31 woman does, you certainly get the picture of a wonderful home manager--she has developed a beautiful and complex system of home management. Her children and husband love it. But her husband is the elder, and she does not rule over the husband any more than the plant manager in a business rules over the CEO. This management of the home given to women is not the same as the management the husband and father gives--Paul even uses different words, as Haubert admits. If women are to be keepers at home (Titus 2:5, I Tim. 5:14) and if men are to work by the sweat of their brow (Gen. 3:17-19) and be leaders in the community and home (Prov. 31:23, I Tim. 3:4&12), then does the man, as CEO of the house, need to decide what color scheme to paint the house or how to potty-train the children? No. The wife is the "plant manager," and she can exercise wonderful leadership in that realm.
"Considering this overview and specific evidence," the reading of Haubert's book should leave any carefully-thinking person with a great big question mark concerning feminism. Haubert has not proven that women should be leaders if all she can do is redefine meanings of words, hold up questionable examples, take Scripture out of context, make unwarranted claims about non-feminists, ignore passages that don't fit her argument, use fallacious arguments, present hypotheses as facts, and ask leading questions.
May God guide us all into His truth.
A Non-Feminist Reading List
We have noticed that Haubert's bibliography contains extremely liberal feminist writings that most Christians would disagree with--some who advocate abortion and homosexuality. On this page we offer you a reading list of authors with sound teaching. Since we did not base our critique on these books (this is not a bibliography), we recommend that you read them to get other perspectives on the issue which are not included in our critique.
This list is more reflective of books we happen to have on the subject of women than it is an exhaustive list of all books written to refute feminism.