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Paul and the Eschatological Woman

Discussion in 'Books & Publications Forum' started by rlvaughn, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Pauline Theology: Ministry and Society, E. Earle Ellis, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdman’s Co., 1989
    (2005 Wipf & Stock is apparently just a reprint of the Eerdman’s edition)

    In the thread Woman senior pastor Baptist Believer mentioned and recommended Pauline Theology by E. Earle Ellis. Since that thread is closed, I will make some comments here.

    I would agree that Ellis’s primary concerns do not appear to me to be culture-driven. In fact he seems to take an unenviable middle-position that folks on neither end of the spectrum will like. I haven’t finished the book yet, but am enjoying it even though I don’t agree with his premise on women in ministry.

    In his chapter on “Paul and the Eschatological Woman,” Ellis examines four theological principles – Man: Corporate and Individual; Equality and Subordination; Mutuality of Obligation and Unity in Diversity. After that he examines “three crucial texts” – 1 Corinthians 14:34ff.; 1 Timothy 2:9-3:1; and Galatians 3:28. To me his best work was on 1 Corinthians 14, and not as well on 1 Timothy 2. If I understand him correctly, he applies these passages to wives of men who are teachers in the church.* I think there is a much better case for that in the Corinthians passage.

    * Note: I must add that I may not understand him correctly, as I was quite sleepy when reading this part!
     
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  2. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    That's right. Most of his critics don't bother to read him yet condemn him for things which aren't remotely true. If you had had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Ellis, you would know that he did not give a whit about what was a culturally acceptable position.

    He would correct anyone who used the term "homosexual" because he thought it was in error. He thought the term "homophiles" was a much better position because it expressed the truth at the issue was desire, not biology. He also corrected anyone who used gender-neutral pronouns in the text (for example, "person" or "one" instead of "man") because it was not being literally faithful to the text. He said that the text needs to be presented unaltered and then the meaning and biblical usage explained.

    The criticism that he plays fast and loose with the text, trying to make it say what he wants it to say is so off-base that its laughable to anyone who knew him, but the critics who have never read his work simply assume that to be the case and then ignore him.

    But you are not like that at all. It demonstrates your enormous integrity and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Unfortunately, I won't have much time until the evening to get back with you, but I will.

    He does. That's one of the things that I find compelling. He has gotten criticized by the left for being too tied to the texts and to Paul's first century thought (although that was his area of expertise), and not tied to contemporary feminist theology. On the right, he is criticized for his "liberalism" without anyone actually taking the time to work through his writings.

    That's a completely fair assessment.

    When I first read the book around 1991, I had a similar position. I was not ready to receive an argument for women in ministry simply because I had witness a number of very negative examples of women preaching, teaching, and leading in congregational life. Because it was uncommon for women to do that, the negative examples - plus the predominant position on women in ministry in Baptist circles - nearly settled the issue for me against women in ministry... except for the place in 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul wrote about women covering their head when prophesying (preaching). That didn't fit. It also didn't fit with Paul claiming that a woman should be silent in the church meeting. That nagged and me and I finally picked up Ellis' book again to work through his argument to see if he could reconcile the issue. I gradually came to agree with most of Ellis' thoughts on the subject.

    Of course when you do that, you get blasted from both the right and the left. But it is better to be faithful to your understanding of scripture than to be led about by popular opinion and the approval of others.
     
  3. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The problem though is still that there are NO scriptures references to women called as pastors or Elders in the local assemblies, as all references assume male leadership!
     
  4. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    We are all aware of your views. Repeating them over and over does not change anyone's mind. If you want to read Ellis' book and comment on his arguments, that would be entirely appropriate for this thread.
     
  5. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    One has to discredit the scriptures views regarding male leadership/headship though to get where he is at!
    What passage can he list to support that notion?
     
  6. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    That's a lie.

    You previously claimed to have read the chapter in question. Now you "want" to know. You are rapidly losing credibility.
     
  7. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I read thru that provided link, and to me he seemed to be saying that now under the new Covenant, God gifts both sexes same, no partiality/nor roles, so both can equally do the same work in the Kingdom...
     
  8. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    Did you carefully read all of it because that's not a balanced description of his view. He pulls in the creation order arguments of Paul, as well as a discussion of the household codes to balance the realities of the world, familial obligations and mutual submission with the gifts and callings of the New Testament.

    Ellis provides a highly concise argument that is difficult to summarize in just a few sentences since it pulls richly from the Old and New Testaments. That's why your assertion that "one has to discredit the scriptures views regarding male leadership/headship though to get where he is at" is so ridiculous. He is not discrediting anything. You may not agree, but he deals with all of the issues and passages carefully and respectfully.
     
  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Can you tell me how he deals with the fact that there are NO passages in the NT that even hints at females to be pastors/elders in local assemblies?
     
  10. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    You are asserting something as a fact (that there are no passages in the New Testament that even hints at females being pastors/elders in local assemblies) that has not been established. You have simply asserted that point.

    Let me ask you a simpler related question. Are there any passages in the New Testament that says that a woman can teach and man, or demonstrate a woman teaching a man?

    Depending upon how you answer that, I may be able to help you with the other.
     
  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Not in the position as the elder or overseer....
     
  12. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    That's not the question before you.

    Are there any passages in the New Testament that says that a woman can teach a man, or demonstrate a woman teaching a man?
     
  13. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    A woman can teach her own children, and even in church children...
     
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