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Documents of Synod:
Studies of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod
(1965 to 1982)


[154th General Synod Minutes, 21 May 1976; Documents of Synod, pp. 390-437.]

Dr. James B. Hurley introduced the report, calling on the Rev. Stephen Smallman and the Rev. Herman Mischke to speak on the history of the report.


Time and distance have made the committee's labor difficult. The committee has been able to meet only by conference telephone call.
In order to assist members of Synod in evaluating this report, an outline of the full projected report is provided, indicating texts to be examined, conclusions reached, and recommendations. Members of Synod should be aware that owing to time limitations involved in mailing between committee members, a provisional draft is being published. The essential elements of the report and the conclusions have been approved by a majority of the committee but the actual text has not been finally approved by the committee. It is anticipated that by Synod time the remaining text will be complete, reviewed, and amended by the committee (and perhaps supplemented by a minority report).

I. Introductory and Methodological Considerations
A. Introduction: discussion of the committee's mandate and methodology.
B. Survey of the Current Situation.
C. Methodological Considerations.
II. Exegetical Foundations
A. Exegesis of Galatians 3:28
B. Exegesis of I Timothy 2
C. Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 11
D. Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36
E. Exegesis of Genesis 1, 2, and 3
F. Exegesis of 1 Timothy 3
III. Conclusions and Recommendations
A. Conclusions
B. Application
C. Recommendations to Synod
Supplement to the Majority Report, from the Minutes of the 155th General Synod, May 20, 1977
Minority Report Number One
Part I by Dr. W. Harold Mare
Part II by Rev. George C. Miladin
Minority Report Number Two by Rev. Herman W. Mischke
Final Action

Part I.

A. Introduction

The relation of men and women within society, within the church, and within marriage is the subject of much debate at the present time. The 153rd General Synod of the RPCES reconstituted the Study Committee on the Role of Women in the Church established by the 152nd General Synod with a mandate to provide exegetical support for the conclusions presented by the committee to the 153rd General Synod and "to enlarge the scope of the study to include the role of women teaching in the church, Sunday school, youth groups, etc." In an effort to fulfill its commission, the present committee has reviewed the materials passed on to it by the previous committee and examined additional documents.

In the light of the extensive literature now available regarding the relation of men and women, the committee initially felt it unnecessary and unwise to seek to present a comprehensive report such as that presented by the Christian Reformed Church. The role of women is a topic which could include extensive historical research into the role of women in the OT period, in the NT documents, and throughout the post-Apostolic period, extensive exegetical treatment of all relevant biblical texts, and extensive operational suggestions regarding the development of the role of women in both present society/ies and potential future societies. Obviously such a program is too broad and extends beyond the actual intent of the synod in the establishment of this committee. The focal concern of our churches has been the role of women in the offices of the church and within the more organized functions of the visible Body. In order to approach this task with precision and without endless volumes the report is divided into the following three sections:

I. Introductory and Methodological Considerations
II. Exegetical Foundations

A. Galatians 3:28
B. I Timothy 2
C. I Corinthians 11
D. I Corinthians 14:33b-36
E. Genesis 1, 2, 3
F. I Timothy 3

III. Conclusions and Recommendations

The report itself is designed to be read by both those with and those without a technical knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. Accordingly all Greek or Hebrew words are accompanied by their English equivalents. At certain places the discussion hinges on finer points of grammar. We have endeavored to explain such points, and beg the indulgence of those who do not have technical training.

B. The Current Situation

Surveying the present situation, Dr. George Knight remarks, that it has been questioned

"whether there are indeed any roles at all that the New Testament recognizes or prescribes. Certainly the church has thought that it ascertained such roles in the New Testament. It spoke of the role relations of citizens and civil authorities, of the church membership and those who ruled over them, of parents and children, even at times of servants and masters, and of husbands and wives. With the exception of servants and masters, which relation it has come to understand the New Testament was regulating as an existing situation, but not presenting as based on God's order, the church understood the other relationships to be roles established by God for which basic guidelines were given by the Lord and the apostles. Included in these role relationships was that of the male and female in the marriage relationship. This role relationship is still recognized as normative among evangelicals. Likewise, for the same considerations that pertain in the male-female relationships in marriage, the position of the historic Christian church has upheld a similar relationship between males and females in the ruling/teaching functions in the church. In particular, the passages of I Timothy 2:11-15, I Corinthians 14:33b (or 34)-38, and the arguments of the passage, I Corinthians 11:1-16, have been understood as normative for this area.

But this understanding of the historic Christian church, even though it has stood as the position for centuries, has in recent years been challenged and in certain cases set aside as erroneous.

Vigorous discussions took place in Germany and the Scandinavian countries which led the majority of the Lutherans in particular to abandon the earlier position. Similar studies took place in the U.S.A. and resulted in a predominance of American Lutherans following the Europeans. On a broader level, most of the older American denominations have also altered their previous positions. The World Council of Churches studies indicate that a great number of the member churches have take this same position in principle. On the other hand, the Reformed Ecumenical Synod at its last two meetings, (1968 Netherlands, 1972 Australia) reaffirmed as the teaching of Scripture the historic Christian understanding of the passages in question. Also studies coming from the dominant conservative wing of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, have reaffirmed the normative character of the passages in I Timothy and I Corinthians. So one might be tempted to generalize that the more liberal wing of the church has abandoned the historic Christian position and the more conservative wing has reaffirmed that position, and that this reflects their respective views of the Bible, its inspiration, inerrancy, and absolute authority.

However, a new element has been interjected into the discussion. The editor of Christianity Today has taken the position in his latest book that the position of Paul is an expression of the culture of his day and not normative for today. This has been followed by a couple of editorials in Christianity Today seeking to implement such a decision. Two women writing a book setting forth their understanding of the Biblical basis for women's liberation have taken an even more vigorous position which would not only see Paul's view of ruling and teaching as culturally relative, but also affirm an "equalitarian" marriage. A majority of the invited participants of the Thanksgiving Workshop on Evangelical Social Concern voted to seek women's ordination in the teaching/ruling offices of the church, although there was a large dissent. The Permanent Judicial Commission of one of the older denominations refused to ordain an evangelical because he said that his understanding of the Scriptures would prohibit him from ordaining a woman to the teaching/ruling office. The divergence of opinion reflected, the intrinsic importance of the question and the existence of several passages that purport to deal with the subject inexorably draw us to ask again: 'What do the Scriptures say?!' "[1]

Discussions such as those of European and Scandinavian Lutheran churches proceed from a view of Scripture which is not acceptable within evangelical circles; other discussions, such as that of Lindsell, the editor of Christianity Today, proceed from a higher view of Scripture and come to conclusions which have caused much debate within evangelical circles. Most of the contemporary conservative discussion can be divided into two groups according to the starting point of their exegetical investigation. One group begins its consideration of the respective roles of men and women with Galatians 3:28, stressing oneness in Christ as the plumbline for NT ethics. Accordingly, those passages which seem to fall short of placing men and women in a par tend to be viewed as being somehow culturally conditioned. Lindsell and Jewett fall into this category. The other major group of conservative exegetes begins its consideration of roles with passages such as I Timothy 2:11-15, or I Corinthians 11:1-16, stressing the subordination of the wife and the prohibition of the elder/teaching role to women. Knight and a vast majority of traditional exegetes take this approach. The consequences of these starting points are strikingly different. The former leads to the appointment of women as elders, and, in some cases, to egalitarian marriages. The latter position leads to maintenance of sexual discrimination with respect to the eldership and marital headship, and, in some cases, to prohibition of the deaconate, Sunday school instructional roles, and vocal participation in worship to the women. Advocates of either side accuse adherents of the other with failing to deal adequately with Scriptural teaching. These accusations are, of course, serious ones. It is appropriate that this report begin with principial considerations relating to the choice of an exegetical starting point.

C. Methodological Considerations

It has long been held in evangelical circles that Scripture is to interpret Scripture and that we are to interpret the less clear passages by the more clear. Applied to the problem at hand these tenets require (a) that social considerations and historical "progress" not be made the first principles of interpretation, but rather that scriptural exegesis guide the selection of a starting point, and (b) that we carefully examine the texts which may be used as starting points in an effort to determine their precise intent and, if possible, which texts more directly address the issues at hand. We will examine Galatians 3:28 and I Timothy 2 to see whether either is a suitable starting point. Having reached a provisional conclusion with regard to Galatians 3:28 and I Timothy 2:11-15, it will be appropriate to consider other texts shedding further light on the issue.


A. Galatians 3:28: A Viable Starting Point?

Galatians 3:28 is perhaps the most appropriate place to begin our exegetical task. In it Paul proclaims,

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
there is no male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

This declaration manifestly sweeps aside all distinctions within the number of those who are "one in Christ Jesus." It is crucial that the import of this be explored. Is Paul intending to imply that Jews and Greeks are indistinguishable, that no distinctions between men and women are to be observed, that elders and non-elders, apostles and non-apostles, bond and free, are indistinguishable? Does he mean to suggest that our ideal must be the elimination of all distinctions between believers, that we should eliminate such distinctions as soon as possible?

The context provides some indication of Paul's thoughts. The letter of the Galatians revolves around the tension between the Judiastic legalism and Pauline salvation by grace. A review of its theological content provides a context in which to evaluate 3:28. The first part of chapter 3 develops at length the thesis that faith, not works, provides the basis of salvation and that those of them who approach God by faith will be blessed with faithful Abraham (vv. 6-14, cf. esp. 9, 11). It is Paul's manifest purpose to establish that the fact that God saves by faith makes it possible not only "that (Jews) might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith," but also, "that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham, by faith" (v. 14).

Having treated the law negatively to establish that "the one who is righteous (before God) lives by means of faith (not works)" (vv. 6-14, cf. 14), Paul goes on in vv. 15-25 to argue that the promise antedates the Law and that the Law is intended as a caretaker (paidagogos: slave who leads the child to his lessons) for a period lasting only until the children should be full sons through faith in Christ (vv. 25, 26). When considered in this fashion, of course, it is clear that the usefulness of the Law for this task fades with the maturity of its charge. This is the burden of the latter portion of chapter 3. Chapter 4 proceeds to develop the new sonship of those who are no longer children under the watchcare of the slave/tutor.

It should be clear from this summary that the central issue at stake in Galatians 3 and 4 is the role of the law in relation to faith. A strong, secondary theme is that of the basis upon which the Jew and the Gentile may come before God. Paul deliberately established that the Law is not a special avenue of approach to God, open only to Jews, but a statement from which God condemns Jews as well as Gentiles (v. 22). Because all are thus shut up to sin and can be saved only by faith, all come before God on equal footing, their race, sex, or state of bondage (Jew/Greek, male/female, bond/free) having no effect whatsoever on their right to stand before God. It is in this frame of reference that Paul declares, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ, for as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise" (vv. 27, 28).

Verse 26 defines clearly the scope of Paul's thought in this crucial section. The debate has been over the role of the Law in establishing our relation to God: Is is through the Law that we become Sons of God? Is it only those who keep the Law that can be acceptable to God? Paul's answer is clear and in the negative: You are all sons of God through faith in Messiah Jesus. . . and if you are Messiah's (by faith) then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise (not social origin) (vv. 26, 29). Set within this context, it must be concluded that Galatians 3:28 denies that racial, sexual, or civil factors play any role in deciding whether an individual may be acceptable to God and included among his people. We must now ask whether this text goes beyond saying that any human whatsoever may become part of Christ's body and that a full reception must be granted to all who do in fact belong to Christ.

Some recent exegetes have held that Galatians 3:28 is programmatic for the church, and that we should therefore strive to achieve a totally democratic church form, erasing all distinctions. Does Paul wish to teach this? It should be noted that Galatians 3:25-29 are in no way to be construed in the future tense. They were clearly present reality; albeit the Galatian practice was not consonant with this reality. Whether this indicative of equality has imperative consequences for behavior will be considered below. We conclude that, if Paul intended to present this text as a future goal rather than as a present fact, he has failed to communicate this fact. If we would infer that v. 28 is a future goal, we must justify our inference by exegetical consideration of other passages.

Other exegetes have held that Galatians 3:28 does indicate a present reality among the Pauline churches. With this conclusion we agree. Paul considered that at that moment they were all, regardless of race, sex, or state of bondage, sons of God. On the basis of this conviction he instructed them to cease doing those things which were a denial of the "sonship" of all believers. Chapters 4 and 5 are filled with commands regarding their freedom. The fact that Paul commanded them to act upon their freedom, upon the reality of that oneness which is pointed out in v. 28, is of great significance for our task.

We must carefully note that while Paul commanded the cessation of those Galatian practices which denied the reality of the oneness and the liberty pointed to in 3:25-29, he also commanded that his churches should establish or maintain practices which involve formal distinctions between apostle and non-apostle (I Corinthians 14), husband and wife (I Corinthians 7), parent and child (Ephesians 6), but not (as far as inclusion within the oneness of the body goes) between slave and free (I Corinthians 7; Philemon) or Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:28). How are we to interpret Paul's commands to reject some distinctions and to establish others? Three central alternatives present themselves: (1) Paul was inconsistent, commanding various things which really cannot be integrated, (2) Paul's goal was the overcoming of distinctions, but historical circumstances caused him to delay implementing his goals in some areas for the sake of growth in others, i.e., Paul knew he was inconsistent but was willing to delay implementation of some implications of their new status in Christ, (3) Paul did not consider that the distinctions which he commanded prejudiced or rejected the oneness upon which he insisted.

The first alternative is to be rejected for various reasons. Those within evangelical circles are principally committed to the integrity of Scripture and to its sufficiency for life and practice. For such, the first alternative is principially to be rejected. Principial considerations, however, are not the only basis for rejecting the first alternative. It is methodologically unwise to accept so simple and shallow a conclusion if other options are available. Paul's letters show that the role of women arose as a problem within his congregations on numerous occasions. It is unlikely that the seeming tension between the position of Galatians 3:28 and that of I Timothy 2:11 would have gone without notice. It is surely best methodologically to work from the assumption that Paul was aware that he demanded some distinctions and forbade others and that some explanation or some rationale is to be sought. The contrary assumption terminates scholarly investigation before it begins; we make no progress if we plead inconsistency every time we cannot yet integrate what we have.

The second possible explanation has recently found increasing favor. Could it be that Galatians 3:28 expresses Paul's goals but that he considers cultural prejudice or social structures too great to take on? Does he leave some implications of his Gospel undeveloped? It seems at first that this may well be possible, yet various factors force us to reject this option. Least weighty among the factors is the fact that Paul offers no indication that he considered cultural issues as determinative of the situation. While it could be said that such thoughts were implicit, it is a weak argument from silence which makes unspoken cultural issues determinative.

More important and indeed decisive is the fact that Paul did not hesitate to reject utterly the prejudice of Jew against Gentile. It would seem strange that Paul would be bold to violate cultural perspectives regarding race and bondage (Phm) while fearing to challenge the cultural prejudice regarding sex. This reticence of Paul's becomes especially strange when we remember that Greek culture admitted women to the role of priestess and that Christian women were permitted an unusually large role both in worship and in Christian community,[2] at least as compared with Jewish practice. It is unobjectionable to Gentiles and was less offensive to Jews than worship of Jesus or the inclusion of the Gentiles. In the face of Paul's failure to give any indication of cultural determinants of his decision, and of his willingness to take on more serious cultural prejudices, we think it unlikely that the second option above is to be preferred.

The third option, that Paul did not consider that certain role distinctions within the body of Christ prejudice the oneness of believers, seems to us the most likely in that it, in contradistinctions to the other positions, offers an explanation of Paul's evident feeling of freedom to argue both distinctions and oneness without developing their relation. Our study below will seek to develop this, which appears to be Paul's view, at greater length.

In the light of the preceding discussion, we conclude that, while Galatians 3:28 is central to our understanding that any human whatsoever, upon credible profession of faith, may and must be received with joy and rejoicing into the fellowship of sinners saved by grace, we must reject it as a primary text when we begin to consider the distinctive role of women within the Church of the Lord Jesus.

Before turning to I Timothy as a possible starting point for a study of the role of women, it is well to comment somewhat further on the NT teaching concerning the equality of believers. Foundational to Paul's understanding of man are the twin teachings of the creation of man as the image of God and of the "recreation" of believers in the image of Christ (Acts 17:26; Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10,11). Paul's discussion of personal renewal in Christ (Colossians 3), of the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12), and even of marital distinctions (I Corinthians 7)[3], shows clearly that he saw an equality of the sexes with respect to their being and functioning as God's image. In this respect, then, Paul's teaching faithfully reflects that of Genesis 1:27: both sexes are the image of God.

Peter too discusses the equal relation of husband and wife with respect to redemption. I Peter 3:7 carefully identifies wives, women, as "joint heirs (sunkleronomoi) of the grace of life." It is of considerable importance to note that Peter's position resembles Paul's as described above in that Peter evidently feels no tension between the role distinctions upon which he insists in vv. 1-6 and the equality of sexes proclaimed in v. 7.[4]

B. I Timothy 2: Normative?

With the exception of the Methodist, Revivalist, and Pentecostal branches of the church, the Christian church has historically viewed I Timothy 2 as normative with respect to the role of women in the church. In recent years these historical conclusions have been questioned by various persons within Evangelical and Reformed churches. It has been held that Paul's instructions in I Timothy 2 are not properly made normative, but must rather be viewed as counsel for a given historical, cultural setting. If this view is adopted, it is, of course, appropriate to consider afresh whether women may serve as elders and pastors. Let us consider the setting and content of I Timothy 2 with the specific intention of discovering not only what is says, but also whether and/or in what respect(s) it should be viewed as culturally limited.

The Content of I Timothy: Culturally Limited?

It is generally accepted within conservative circles that Paul wrote I Timothy with the intention of providing Timothy with a clear statement on certain topics which were either specifically at issue or were typically at issue within his churches. The letter thus forms something of a "spiritual will" left by Paul for Timothy. Paul indicates that he hopes to come to Timothy, but fears that he may be long delayed (3:14-15a). Recognizing the possible delay, Paul writes, "I write these things to you. . . .that you may know how it is appropriate to behave in the household of God (pos dei en oiku theou anast rephesthai) which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth" (3:14a, 15b). It is not altogether clear whether these remarks are intended to refer to the letter as a whole, or to their immediate context. The former appears the more likely as the latter as a whole discusses conduct within the Body of Christ. However extensive the scope of the remark, it is clearly intended to include chapters 2 and 3.

Paul's word choice in 3:14 has direct bearing on the problem of the normativity of chapter 2. Paul wrote, "pos. . . .dei anastrephesthai" (how. . . . it is fitting to behave oneself). Dei is an impersonal verb, generally translated "it is necessary," "one must," "one has to," "one should/ought." The New Testament use of the word always indicates a strong degree of necessity and generally indicates divinely based moral necessity. Paul uses it 24 times, the majority of which refer to historical necessities required by divine rule over history (e.g., Romans 1:27; I Corinthians 11:19; 15:25,53; II Corinthians 2:3; 5:10; I Thessalonians 4:1; I Timothy 3:2; 3:7; I Timothy 2:6, 24; Titus 1:7, 11). Paul's use of it in I Timothy 3:15 is presumptive evidence that he considered the information concerning conduct in the household of God normative. It remains, however, to be asked whether he considered this advice permanently normative or contextually normative.

Anastrephesthai (to conduct oneself) offers some help here, as does an examination of other subjects which Paul included as necessary conduct in God's household. Anastrephesthai (to conduct oneself) is a present infinitive, taking no person or number. Its use here lends a gnomic, abstract character to Paul's instructions. Owing to the lack of person and number, interpreters have had to decide whether Paul was referring to Timothy, or whether he intended a more general reference. Thus they have translated either "how you (sing.) ought to conduct yourself" (KJV), or "how men ought to conduct themselves" (ASV, Beck, NEB, NIV, Phillips, Williams); or "how one ought to conduct himself (NASV, RSV). The latter is perhaps to be preferred as it maintains Paul's ambiguity. With the exception of the KJV, translators are agreed that Paul's language is cast in a general form, that he instructs Timothy concerning how to conduct oneself in the family of God.

What sort of instructions does Paul have in view as necessary for the household of God? Are they of a culturally relative nature? Chapter 2 deals with prayer for rulers, manner of prayer for men, teaching functions for women. The first part of chapter 3 touches on qualifications for the eldership and the diaconate. Chapters 3b and 4 consider the mystery of the faith and its future rejection. Chapter 5 turns to relations between classes of persons in the church (widows and elders). It should be obvious from this subject matter that Paul did not consider his letter simply occasional or cultural limited. Prayer for rulers, qualifications for the eldership, the mystery of the faith, classes such as elders and widows are hardly passing issues. The subjects concerning which Paul wanted to instruct Timothy were not temporary, nor have his instructions in other areas than that of women been taken as culturally restricted. It must be concluded that the context of the letter does not support the argument that I Timothy 2 is culturally bounded.

Although the general context of I Timothy 2 does not suggest cultural limitation, it may still be that the immediate context will suggest that Paul's discussion is culturally limited. The chapter reads as follows:

1. I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--
2. for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
3. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
4. who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
5. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
6. who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
7. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
8. I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
9. I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,
10. but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.
12. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
13. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
14. And Adam was not deceived; and the woman, quite deceived, was in transgression.
15. But women will be safe through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
[NIV, slightly altered]

Verses 1 and 2 set the tone for the chapter: Paul wishes to discuss prayer in the church. Appropriate subjects for prayer is his first topic (vv. 1, 2). He directs that prayers are to be made for "all (kinds) of men, for kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life." Unless this be taken as establishing kingship as the only legitimate form of government, it would seem that Paul's instructions are transcultural. Verses 3-7 go on to explain that such prayer is appropriate and is pleasing to God, who would have all men saved, and who has appointed Paul to teach the Gentiles. Verses 3-7 thus constitute a theological rationale for the practice of vv. 1, 2. It would be possible to contend that the command to pray (vv. 1-2) is limited to the time of Paul and his ministry, but we suspect none would wish to take such a position. The church prays for those in authority with confidence that this is pleasing to God, that Paul's instructions in
I Timothy 2:1-7 are not culture-bound.

I Timothy 2:8-10: Problems Marring Prayer

Verse 8 continues the discussion of prayer and leads on into a discussion of behavior appropriate to the sexes. It is unclear from the context whether Timothy was facing a particular problem or whether Paul considered these topics important for some other reason. Despite our uncertainty we are able to reconstruct the sort of situation Paul had in view. Verses 8 and 9 could be generic, but vv. 11 and 12 clearly make reference to a situation of public instruction.. If we assume that the passage from v. 8 through v. 12 is a single unit, we conclude that Paul has in view public worship situations in which there is prayer and teaching.

Verses 8 and 9 address men and women respectively. Some have interpreted these as directing that men should (and women should not) make public prayer and that women should dress modestly as befits their role. These verses are then lined up with I Corinthians 14:34,35 (commanding silence from women) against I Corinthians 11:1-5 (permitting women to pray and prophesy) to show that Paul silenced women entirely in church in order to preserve proper authority structures.
I Corinthians 14:34, 35 will be discussed below. We will restrict our present attention to vv. 8, 9. Close examination suggests that this plausible explanation is to be rejected because it does not actually present Paul's intended contrasts but treats v. 8 (men praying with holy hands) as if it stood next to vv. 11ff. (women learning in silence). It is not clear, however, from v. 8 whether Paul intends to stress that men should do the praying everywhere, or whether Paul intends to concentrate our attention upon attitudes which should accompany prayer. In the former case we should paraphrase: "I want the men to do the praying everywhere, and, as they lift up their hands to do so, they should not be filled with wrath and dissension." In the latter case we should paraphrase: "As the men everywhere pray they should be sure that the hands they life up are holy, without wrath and dissension." The former alternative focuses on the contrasting sex roles; the latter focuses on a weakness to which men are prone when they gather in the assembly. Which is Paul's intent? The following considerations suggest the latter.

(1) If the intended comparison is the sex roles, the comment on "holy hands without wrath or dissension" as well as v. 9 which builds upon it become a parenthetical aside which seriously obscures Paul's central but unspoken point, that women should not pray.

(2) A close look at v. 9 strongly indicates that Paul's intention in vv. 8 and 9 is not to announce the prohibition of women's prayer, but to speak to the manner in which it should be offered. Verse 9 reads: hosautos (kai) gunaikas en katastole kosmio meta aidous kai sophrosunes kosmein heautas me en plegmasin kai krusio e margaritais e himatismo polutelei all'ho prepei gunaixin epaggel omenais theosebeian di'ergon agathon ([and] likewise I desire the women to adorn themselves in modest/respectable clothes, not with braided-hair-and-gold-or-pearls or costly garments, but [I desire women to adorn themselves] with good works, which is appropriate for women professing godliness.) Hosautos (likewise) introduces an elliptical construction. Translators must supply a verb. At first glance it looks as though the ellipsis might be boulomi proseuchesthai (I want. . . to pray), specifically instructing that women pray. A closer examination, however, prohibits this as there is an infinitive in v. 9, kosmein (to adorn), which is most likely a supplementary infinitive attached to boulomai (I desire) rather than epexegtical of the woman's prayer. Thus we can supply only boulomai (I desire).

Interpreters have debated the relation of Paul's command for women to his command for men. Many have come to the conclusion that the two are not really parallel at all, that the command to men is intended to instruct that they only should pray, while the command to women instructs them to wear modest clothes at worship. On this basis the second half of v. 8 and the whole of vv. 9 and 10 are incidental on the thrust of v. 8, breaking the flow of Paul's thought. The following interpretative paraphrase draws out the implications of this interpretation:

Wherever Christians meet, I want only the men to pray. In addition, I want the men who pray to be sure that the hands they lift up are not marked by wrath or dissension. And women, who may not pray, must attend worship in proper clothes, modestly and discreetly dressed. . . ."

This reading of the text, although very common, fails to take adequate note of Paul's connective, hosautos (likewise). The reading above reduces hosautos (likewise) to the status of kai (and). While various commentators have proposed such a weakening of the force of hosautos (likewise), it is without precedent in Paul, NT usage, or the lexicons. Without fail, hosautos (likewise) refers back to an antecedent and sets it parallel to its own referent. In Paul's usage it refers back to a central element of the preceding passage. We must therefore ask which element of v. 8 is being referred to. There are, in fact, only two options. Either Paul refers to prayer by men (v. 8a) or to the lifting up of "holy hands" (v. 8b). Let us consider these two options from the "men-only-should-pray" perspective.

It would be most natural to assume that when Paul says "likewise women," he is setting them parallel to "men." Such an assumption would set his direction to woman parallel to his direction to men. This is impossible if the central (unspoken) thrust of v. 8 is the exclusion of women from prayer. The meaning of hosautos (likewise) is destroyed and the sentence rendered meaningless if we read, "I want men (only) to pray. . . . likewise I want women (who cannot pray) to dress modestly. . . ." Only by a grammatically unjustifiable reduction of hosautos (likewise) to kai (and) can such an interpretation be sustained.

The second possibility for the "men-only-should-pray" position is that Paul refers back to his instruction that men who pray should have holy hands. If this is the antecedent of hosautos (likewise), the parallel of other Pauline uses of hosautos (likewise) suggests that "holy hands" is not an incidental element of v. 8 but a central one, which in turn suggests that Paul's point was not the (unspoken) exclusion of women from prayer, but the regulation of the manner in which men prayed. If, contrary to other Pauline usage, we assume that Paul used hosautos (likewise) to refer to a minor element of the preceding verse, his train of thought in chapter 2 is essentially disjointed, discussing in sequence topics for prayer, who should pray, incidental thoughts concerning how men should pray and how women should dress, and the prohibition of women teaching at worship. While this is of course possible, the chapter is better integrated if the men-only view is discarded. On the regulating-prayer-by-men-and-women view, the train of thought moves from topics for prayer in public worship to deportment of men and women who pray and from these (via the mention of women and public worship) to the deportment of women with respect to proclamatory authority in the worship service.

Let us now consider the problem of an antecedent for hosautos (likewise) from the regulation-of-prayer-by-men-and-women perspective. On this basis, v. 8 is not to be divided into two segments. Instead of seeing Paul's remark about holy hands as incidental, it is to be seen as central to his purpose. The verse may be interpretatively rendered:

I want men everywhere to be sure that as they pray they lift holy rather than stained hands, hands not soiled by wrath or dissension.

Verses 9 and 10 become the complement of v. 8, directing that women, as they pray, not seek to ornament themselves with fancy clothes, but rather with good works. The parallel force of hosautos (likewise) is this perfectly guarded in that Paul first identifies his audience, then addresses them with respect to a fault: men--wrath; women--unbecoming dress.

If we adopt this view, Paul's focus in v. 8 is on a problem which has marred the prayers of his churches: men have had wrath and unresolved hard feelings toward one another as they prayed. As David and the Lord before him (Psalm 24; Matthew 5:23, 24), Paul considered that unholy wrath and unresolved hard feelings were not appropriate to those who would approach God in prayer. If v. 8 discusses an issue which is important with respect to men as they pray, a besetting sin, it would be natural to infer that hosautos (likewise) is intended to introduce a similar conviction, a besetting sin typical of women. Such appears to be the case. Women, as they pray, are not to dress as the loose or ungodly women do. As we have seen, it could be argued that Paul was not thinking that women should pray but rather that, being present, they ought to be dressed in a godly fashion. We have rejected this position because it destroys the thrust of hosautos (likewise) by making v. 9 incidentally related to the central theme of v. 8. A second reason to be noted below is the fact that the related passage in I Corinthians 11 discusses precisely the question of women's adornment as they pray. It is only in the light of I Corinthians 14:24 and I Timothy 2:11ff. that exegetes have rejected the inference, clear in I Corinthians 11:5 and implicit in I Timothy 2:9, that women prayed and prophesied in the Pauline churches.

We conclude then, concerning vv. 8 and 9, that they are a continuation of Paul's discussion of prayer and are best understood as discussing problems particular to the sexes as they attend worship. Men must be careful about wrath and dissension; women must be careful about using fancy clothes as adornment instead of a godly life. While it may be argued that the verses are compatible with a situation in which women are silent, it is only by the questionable inference that Paul meant (but did not say) that men only should pray that we can construe vv. 8, 9 as prohibiting prayer by women. In the light of I Corinthians 11, which parallels I Timothy 2 by discussing both prayer and adornment of women, we must question whether it is at all a tenable inference that women were silent at all times in the Pauline assemblies.

I Timothy 2:11-15: Women and Ecclesiastical Authority

Verses 11-15 have often been taken as indicating that the conclusion just reached is in error. In them Paul commands:

11. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.
12. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
13. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
14. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
15. But woman will be kept safe through childbirth, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Paul's instructions are very strong. Their strength must not be sidestepped; nor must it be misdirected. We must ask how v. 11 is related to vv. 8-10. It is manifest that Paul's attention has moved from the topic of prayer to the topic of teaching and learning (manthanein, didaskein). The context of the activity is presumably still a public worship service. Most commentators note the sudden introduction of this topic. As we try to determine whether v. 8 prohibits prayer by women, it is important to consider both the flow of Paul's thought from vv. 8-10 to vv. 11-15 and the abrupt transition between v. 10 and v. 11. If we assume that vv. 8-10 are stressing that men only should pray, vv. 11-15 not only reinforce the point but preclude the possibility of other than men praying. For if women cannot speak (vv. 11, 12b), they cannot pray, nor can they teach! It is often assumed that vv. 11-15 are intended to strengthen the implicit directions of vv. 8-10 that women must not pray. They certainly would accomplish this end, but, perhaps, too much on the traditional interpretation.

On the traditional view the burden of vv. 8-10 is that men rather than women should pray. Verses 11-15 are interpreted as closing off to women not only the teaching but indeed all speech in the assembly. It is difficult on this basis to understand why Paul took so many words and so indirect a path to achieve his simple end. If he had simply said that women are not to speak in the assembly (which, on some readings, he appears to have said in I Corinthians 14:34 in contradiction of himself in I Corinthians 11:5) he would not have had to spend so much time with his hints that men should pray, or that women may not teach. These difficulties lead us to question once again whether the center of Paul's thrust is indeed the silence of women or whether it could be that he intended to regulate various sorts of behaviors in the assembly. Paul's abrupt transition between v. 10 and v. 11 suggests that he was aware of moving to a new topic. We would propose that the transition at v. 11 ought not to be understood as a return to the oft-supposed, implicit-but-never-explicit topic of v. 8, the forbidding of women to pray, but rather that it ought to be understood as a transition from the topic of the first portion of the chapter (prayer) to a new topic (the manner in which women are to relate to authoritative teaching [preaching?] ). This point of view has much to commend it. Firstly, it better maintains the integrity of chapter 2. Instead of having vv. 1-8a deal with prayer, vv. 8b-10 as an aside, and vv. 11-15 a discussion of women and authority, this view presents vv. 1-10 as a integrated discussion of prayer turning in vv. 11-15, via the discussion of women's vocal role within public worship of the congregation by means of prayer, to consider the silent role of the women during the teaching portion of public worship. Secondly, this view explains the incidental role of the topic of silence in the passage. We have noted above the traditional view's problem of the indirect manner of Paul's approach to what has often been taken as a blanket insistence upon the total silence of women. Why did the problems of prayer, prophecy, and teaching arise if he never permitted women to speak in his churches? Is it not strange that this topic should need such elaborate, circuitous discussion at this late stage in Paul's career?

If, on the other hand, vv. 9-10 regulate women's vocal role in prayer, vv. 11-15 may be understood as making it clear that permission to participate in the corporate prayer is not to be interpreted as permission to teach or to rule over men. (Individual participation in public prayer has sometimes been interpreted as an exercise of ecclesiastical authority [i.e., leading the congregation in prayer]; it need not be so viewed, but can be simply viewed as participation). Verse 11 thus stresses that, in contrast to her vocal participation in prayer a woman must learn (receive teaching) in quietness and with all submissiveness. The necessity of such explicit instruction is easy to understand when it is considered that the Jewish portion of Paul's churches was used to women not only being silent, but even to their not attending at all. The great jump from such a role to participation in prayer must have seemed a discarding of all barriers and all distinctions! I Corinthians 11 appears to reflect just such a situation in which the congregation was uncertain which distinctions remained.

Verse 12 goes on to further develop Paul's thought concerning the role of women in the teaching portion of public worship. In v. 12 Paul shifts from the learning side of the matter to the teaching side. He stresses that he will not permit women to teach or have authority over men. It should be noted that v. 11 talks of learning (manthaneto) and subjection (en pase hupotage). Verse 12 picks up the same two concepts, but from the other side, stressing teaching (didaskein) rather than learning (manthaneto) and exercise of authority (authenthein) rather than subjection (hupotage). Paul's repetition of hesuchia (silence) at the end of v. 12 completes the parallel (in silence, learning in subjection/not teaching, not exercising authority, but in silence) and shows that his thought pattern is still the same as that of v. 11. An interpretative paraphrase of the verses might read: A woman's role in teaching portions of the public worship service contrasts with what we have just said of prayer. Let a woman take her proper role of godly subjection to proper authority. She should be a silent learner. I do not permit a woman to stand over men by teaching them in the worship service, nor otherwise to exercise ecclesiastical authority over men. She must rather be in silence at time when these things are done.[5]

We conclude with regard to vv. 11, 12, that Paul meant to instruct that women may not teach nor may they exercise authority over men.

It seems appropriate, before considering vv. 13-15, to reflect once again upon our question as to whether the content of I Timothy 2:1-12 suggests that it is culturally limited and therefore should not be applied today as a ban to women becoming elders. As has been noted above, the basic commands of the chapter thus far are clearly not time bound. Prayer for rulers (vv. 1-7) is of continuing relevance. Men are surely still to pray without being filled with wrath or dissension (v. 8). Modesty (aidous), sobriety (sophrosunes) and good works are surely still appropriate to women who profess godliness (vv. 9-10). With respect to v. 9, some might be prepared to debate the need for modest clothes, but that number would presumably be very small and may be overlooked for the moment. This leaves as the only aspects of the chapter from v. 1 to v. 10 which would be questioned as to their continuing relevance those items specified by Paul as things not to be used for adornment: braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothes. Taking the costly clothes first, we quickly sustain this as relevant in the present if we understand Paul to be making a relative judgment. What are costly clothes? The answer depends upon one's socio-economic and historical position. It is fairly obvious that Paul has in view excessively expensive and ostentatious clothes. Now, as then, such clothes mark their wearer as a woman who is centered upon herself and who disdains others of the body of Christ. Such an attitude does not become those who would pray to God.

Braided-hair-and-gold-or-pearls is an expression which is little understood today. It refers to a custom which originated with the courtesans of the day. Such women did their hair in eleven to twenty-one small braids and put circular or teardrop gold ornaments or pearls every inch or so along the length of the braids. This created a shimmering screen of ornaments. Such a display of wealth evidently became a custom among those who could afford it. Paul uses this as an example of immodest, ostentatious adornment. As such, it is an appropriate parallel of ostentatious, expensive clothes.

In the light of the preceding review, it may be safely concluded that the only thing in I Timothy 2:1-10 which is manifestly culturally limited is this one illustration of immodest dress. Even there, the basic principles are clearly isolable from the examples of their application to then present customs and thus present no exegetical or hermeneutical problems. We must conclude that the chapter thus far offers no internal justification for culturally relativizing any portion of it save the hair reference of v. 9. With this conclusion in mind, let us continue our examination of the chapter with a careful exegesis of the text and a conclusion as to whether the chapter as a whole is culturally limited as our goal.

1 Timothy 2:13,14: Theological Rationale from Pre-Fall Creation Order

It was noted during our study of Paul's discussion of prayer in w.1-10 that Paul offered a theological rationale for his directive that prayers be offered for all men. Verses 11,12, as has been noted, discuss another aspect of the worship service, the teaching situation. Verses 13 and 14 appear to offer Paul's theological rationale for his directive that women learn in silence: specifically the prior formation of Adam and the deception of Eve.

Paul's appeal to the prior formation of Adam is often difficult for modern exegetes to understand. Paul does not elaborate to explain how the priority of Adam's formation relates to men's priority of authority in ecclesiastical settings. Any explanation which we offer must, therefore, be inferential. I Corinthians 11:8,9 offers a useful parallel discussion. In explanation of the necessity of maintaining the subordinate role of wives during the worship service, Paul says:

8 the man is not out of (ek) the woman, but the woman out of (ek) the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the sake of (dia+accusative) the woman, but the woman for the sake of (dia+accusative) the man. (NIV translation)

Verse 9 implies clearly that the woman's subordination in marriage is a direct function of her having been created for the sake of the man, to relate to him. Verse 8 is harder to understand but clearly implies that the derivation of the woman from the man is either illustrative or causative of her subordinate role. The derivation of Eve from Adam (Paul's point of I Corinthians 11:8) presumes his prior existence, that he was formed first by God (Paul's point of I Timothy 2:13). We are therefore on safe exegetical ground if we conclude that the train of thought of I Corinthians 11:8,9 and that of I Timothy 2:13 are the same. In them Paul indicates that the prior formation of Adam and the derivative formation of Eve are reasons for the subordinate roles of women in marriage and in the church. His argument makes pre-fall, creational relations of men and women normative for the post-resurrection church. This form of argument all but closes off the possibility of cultural relativism as a valid reason for discarding Paul's instructions. In order to do so it would be necessary to show why creational norms should be binding in Paul's day but not in our own. Cultural "progress" will not suffice as a reason unless we can provide an exegetical basis on which to interpret it. Galatians 3:28 is often advanced but, as we have seen above, it does not provide the necessary support. We conclude therefore that, whether or not it is popular, Paul taught marital (I Corinthians 11) and ecclesiastical (I Timothy 2:11-14) subordination of women as relevant to the church of Christ and as grounded in creational rather than cultural structuring of their relation.

Some recent interpreters have sought to explain Paul's argument from creation as itself culturally bounded. Thus, it is explained, Paul used Genesis in a way which is to be explained by his own first century outlook. According to such a position a close examination of Genesis 1-3 suggests that Paul's exegetical treatment of the text is inadequate or not a full reflection of it.

Although we will delay an exegetical consideration of Genesis 1-3 until later, it should be noted here that this form of argument is not new in our day. The argument that NT theologizing and hermeneutics are culturally relative and not normative for our hermeneutics has traditionally been called demythologizing. The position outlined above serves not only to relativize Paul's teaching on women, but serves also, in principle, to relativize all of Paul's hermeneutic and theology. Those who take the Scriptures seriously will not be willing to adopt such an approach to them.

I Timothy 2:14 offers a new rationale for women's subordination in teaching. Paul says "Adam was not deceived (ouk epatete), but the woman genuinely deceived (exapate eisa) was in transgression." Once again Paul's words are cryptic and it is not possible from the actual language to discern his precise meaning. Is he saying that Adam was not deceived and did not sin? Is he saying Eve was the cause of the Fall? Does he mean that Eve was gullible, that other women are gullible, and therefore that women should not teach? Does he mean all women are to be punished for what Eve did?

We may dismiss out of hand the suggestions that Paul meant Adam was not sinful and that Eve was the guilty source of the Fall. Although the rabbis and the church fathers have sometimes identified Eve as the guilty party, Paul in Romans 5:12 is explicit in identifying Adam as the one who sinned and through whom sin and death entered the world. With respect to I Timothy 2:14, we conclude that Paul's point was not that the woman was at fault, but rather that. She was not at fault as was Adam because she was deceived while he was not! He deliberately and knowingly chose to sin: he was not deceived; she did not understand: she was quite deceived. Christian men cannot indulge themselves by saying, "Oh, that Eve had not done it!" Paul indicates that Adam, not Eve, did it and that he did it knowing full well what he was doing!

It is more difficult to assess whether Paul intended to say that all women are as gullible as was Eve. Titus 2:3 offers some help, however, in that it directs the older women to teach the younger. It would appear that Paul did not consider that women were too gullible to be able to teach! In this vein we should note also Paul's association with Priscilla and Aquila who, according to Acts, both taught Paul's fellow worker Apollos.

Our examination of I Corinthians 11:8,9 and I Timothy 2:13 has suggested that Paul appealed to God's created order as the course of his teaching on the role of women. In both cases Paul illustrated from the pre fall narrative the role patterns which he taught as currently normative. Is it possible that I Timothy 2:14 may be another example of the normativity of the prefall situation? If it is, we must ask what pre-fall element is in view. Verse 14 clearly focuses upon the deception of the woman. In contrast to her husband, she was deceived on the central theological issue of the veracity of God. Can this be relevant to Christian worship? It is if the point is that it was not the woman's role to render the decision concerning the fruit. On this basis the import of I. Timothy 2:14 is roughly, "The man, upon whom responsibility for leading in marital and worship matters fell, was equipped to deal with the serpent's temptation. He was not deceived, but stepped deliberately into sin. The woman was not given the role of leader in religious or marital issues and was in fact not prepared to discern the serpent's lies. She was quite deceived by him. Christian worship involves a re-establishing of the creational pattern with men teaching and women listening but not exercising authority over men." This interpretation commends itself as it lines v. 14 up with Paul's other remarks about the role of women, making the fact of the woman's deception parallel with the facts of man's priority and the woman's derivative nature as indicators of the respective roles assigned men and women by God.

1 Timothy 2:15: Salvation by Childbirth?

A subsidiary question arises which this report cannot decisively answer. Does Paul imply that women are not capable of making theological decisions, or that they must maintain the patterns of creation even if they are in fact as capable as men? Paul does not answer this directly. Examination of the next verses, however, suggests that the latter alternative may be the preferable. Verse 15 says that women[6] will be kept safe (sothesetai) through childbearing (dia tes teknogonias) if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sincerity (meta sophrosunes). Interpreters have had to wrestle with the meaning of sothesetai (be kept safe, be saved). Some have interpreted the verb as indicating salvation by the work of childbirth. This reading is quite possible on the face of the text, but it is to be rejected as hostile to the Pauline gospel which would never place childbirth as a necessary grounding for salvation (cf. I Corinthians 7, which asserts the value of the freedom of celibate life for both men/women for the service of God.) Other interpreters have suggested that dia tes teknogonias (through childbirth/through the childbirth) may be best rendered "by means of the birth of the child." This reading suggests as its background the promise of Genesis 3:15 and the promise to Abraham. While it is linguistically possible, it is not contextually likely as the context reflects on the need for redemption only indirectly and it is not probable that Paul would have made salvation contingent upon faith, charity and holiness with sobriety.[7]

Having rejected both salvation by childbirth and a reference to Genesis 3:15, we would like to propose that the verse be understood in terms of the discussion of role which is the dominant theme of the passage from v. 11 to v. 14. On this basis v. 15 describes that role in which a woman will be kept safe. Childbirth and a godly character, continuing in faith, charity and holiness will protect her or at least be a means of protection. It must be asked from what precisely the woman will be saved. The two interpretations thus far proposed presume judgment and Hell as the threat. We would propose that the fact that the context is focusing upon the prevention of women taking a wrong role with respect to men suggests that the essential point is that the pattern of life suggested by Paul will guard women from adopting wrong roles.

Modern interpreters of this passage must ask a number of serious questions. Does Paul command marriage for all women? I Corinthians 7:1, 10-40 answers this question decisively and in the negative.[8] Paul considered both marriage and celibacy gifts and preferred the latter to the former (I Corinthians 7:7). He specifically acknowledges that both marriage and celibacy are options for men and for women (I Corinthians 7:32-34).

Is this passage permanently normative or culturally relative? We have just seen that Paul presumed in his churches that there would be exceptions to the very general rule he had laid down in 1 Timothy 2:15, he expected some would not marry. Thus the verse cannot be a fixed rule. In its original context it did not prohibit single life; it does not do so now. In all societies the norm has been marriage rather than single life. Up to and including the present, most marriages produce children, and the women must, by virtue of their physiology, be the bearers of the children. Paul's use of childbearing is, therefore, going to be of continuing trans-cultural relevance. We conclude that v. 15 indicates that women (generally speaking, cf. I Corinthians 7) will be kept safe from taking men's roles by means of establishing marriage bonds and participating in marital life (as symbolized by childbearing). This participation extends beyond childbearing to include hallmarks of Christian character whose outworkings produce the adorning works of v. 10.

Conclusion: 1 Timothy 2-A Valid Starting Point for the Present

We are now in a position to draw conclusions as to the usefulness of I Timothy 2 as a starting point for the development of a view of the NT teaching on the role of women. The preceding discussion has shown that there is but one aspect of the entire chapter which provides exegetical grounds for the designation "culturally relative." That portion, the mention of braided-hair-and-gold-or-pearls, presents no difficulty as it is clearly an example of ostentatious dress. We have found nothing at all in Paul's discussion of subject matter for prayer (w. 1,2), the manner in which men and women should pray (w. 8-10), or the manner of women's reception of public instruction which even vaguely suggests that Paul's words are culturally limited. On the contrary, we have found that Paul's defense of his position is not in the least grounded in the then present culture, but is rather squarely based on the pre-fall situation which he felt normative. We conclude that I Timothy 2 is indeed an appropriate place to begin a study of the NT teaching on the role of women. The following interpretative paraphrase of vv. 8-15 is offered to refresh the reader's memory of the exegetical conclusions thus far reached:

As a herald and apostle, an ordained preacher and teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth, I express my wish that men everywhere who pray take care that their hands are holy as they are lifted, that they not be defiled by wrath or dissension. The women likewise must take care not to be defiled as they pray. Women should adorn themselves with modest clothes, with decency and propriety, not trying to be impressive by wearing many braids festooned with gold or pearls or expensive clothes. Such ostentatious adornment is not appropriate to Christian women. Your adornment should be good deeds, which are appropriate to women who profess to worship God. Although women may enter vocally into public prayer, they must not enter vocally into the teaching or other authoritative exercises in the service. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent. The order of creation is not an accident; there are things to be learned from it. Adam was formed first, then Eve. His priority of creation reflects a divinely established headship in the house and in religious matters. Within those relations the theological decisions rested with the man. Thus although Adam was not deceived but deliberately chose to sin, Eve was quite deceived and became a transgressor. A woman's natural marital role helps guard her from taking over a man's role. She will be kept safe from wrong roles through childbirth and a marital role, although these are not alone sufficient to protect her. Her life must be marked by other Christian virtues such as faith, love, and holiness in propriety.

C. 1 Corinthians 11:1-16: Prayer and Prophecy By Women, in The Worship Service?

I Corinthians 11: 1-16 contains the longest single discussion of women in the New Testament. For the purposes of this report, however, it does not contain a great deal of information needing examination. (For a recent approach as to this passage, cf. J. B. Hurley, "Did Paul Require Veils or the Silence of Women? A Consideration of I Corinthians 11:1-16 and 14:33b36," Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 35 [1973], pp. 190-220 and N. K. Weeks, WTJ, Vol. 35 [1973], pp. 25ff). The passage is primarily concerned with the expression of the marital role relations in the worship service. It would appear that the Corinthians women had rejected marital roles as appropriate in worship and discarded outward signs of that relation. Paul contends that the relation still obtains and that its signs are to be maintained even during the service. For the purposes of this report the most important portions of the text are vv. 5 and 13, which read as follows:

"5Every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head . . .
13 Is it proper for a woman to pray to God (with her head) uncovered?"

These texts clearly presume that the women in view did pray and prophesy. Some have sought to argue that Paul argues ex concesso, conceding for the sake of argument the point at issue. Such a case can be made for 1 Corinthians 15:3-19 where Paul discusses what would be the case "if the dead are not raised." There is, however, no indication in chapter 11 that such is Paul's intent. He nowhere even hints that he disapproves of the practice of women praying and prophesying and makes elaborate arguments concerning regulations during prayer and prophecy. These arguments become utterly pointless if he in fact wishes to denounce the practice.

Some, who wish to interpret this passage as not permitting prayer by women, have held that Paul wishes to make a theological point here in chapter 11 and therefore holds off his silencing of women until chapter 14. While it is possible that this is the case, it is singular that Paul fails to give any hint of his intent here in chapter 11 and actually leaves the topic with his true intention unannounced, only to break his train of thought in chapter 14 to insert a parenthetical remark prohibiting women from speaking, which remark would have fit much better at the end of 11:1-16. If another approach to 14:33 b-36 relieves this awkward situation, it would be preferable.

Can 1 Corinthians 11:5 refer to a prayer meeting?

Some exegetes, mindful of the apparent conflict between the prayer of women in chapter 11 and their silencing in chapter 14, have sought to interpret chapter 11 as having reference to a prayer meeting or other informal meeting of the church. On this basis women could speak at informal gatherings but not at the formal congregational meetings. This view does relieve the tension between chapter 11 and chapter 14, but it is doubtful that the case can be sustained exegetically. If faced with no other alternative which would achieve a reconciliation of Scripture with Scripture, this solution is perhaps to be adopted. We will offer an alternative below. Let us examine the context of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 to see if there are any indications as whether a prayer meeting or a worship service is in view.

The text of chapter 11 itself does not indicate what sort of service is in view. The Pauline literature in general offers no real help in that Paul never discusses what sort of meetings his churches had. The context of 1 Corinthians, however, does offer some indication of the sort of issue Paul seems to have been dealing with. Chapter 11 discusses women's coverings and aberrations in connection with communion. The discussion of communion clearly assumes a full worship service. Verse 18 specifically identifies the situation of communion as "when (the Corinthians) have gathered together in the assembly/church" (sunerchomenon humon en ekklesia). There can be no debate as to whether this refers to a full gathering of the congregation. Chapters 12 and 14 discuss the exercise of spiritual gifts with particular reference to the public worship service with chapter 13, the discussion of loving behavior, between them. The fact that chapters l 1b, 12, and 14 discuss the public worship service supports the thesis that chapter 11a ought to be seen as dealing with such a service.

A closer examination of chapters 12 and 14 reveals further links with chapter 11a. It is of particular importance that chapters 12 and 14 discuss the exercise of spiritual gifts, including prayer and prophecy, for these are precisely the gifts exercised by women in chapter 11. Chapter 12 discusses the fact that God has distributed his gifts as seemed fitting to him, but for the purpose of building up the whole body (12:7, 11, 18). Chapter 14 continues the discussion, focusing in on the problem of speaking in tongues and prophecy. The essential argument of the first part of the chapter is that prayer in tongues, without an interpreter, produces only edification of the speaker (w. 1-12) while interpreted prayer in tongues (which, by virtue of its interpretation into intelligible speech becomes prophecy) and prophecy contribute to the building up of the body of Christ. Thus the first part of chapter 14 applies the central point of chapter 12 to the topic of tongues and prophecy. The middle portion of the chapter (w. 20-25) stresses the orderly exercise of gifts, tongues, and prophecy in particular in the worship service, presuming that outsiders will be present at the meeting and consider unregulated tongues speaking an exercise of madness (v. 23). This sort of context leaves no room to assume that anything less than a full meeting of the congregation is in view. It is quite unlikely that Paul is discussing any sort of "prayer meeting" or informal gathering. The last portion of the chapter, to be examined in more detail below, wraps up Paul's general discussion of the value of prophecy as compared to tongues with a series of specific regulations for the ordering of the worship service and for the limitation of charismatic expressions of both tongues and prophecy. That this is the case can be seen from v. 26, where Paul specifically includes that he is thinking of their assemblies: "when you are assembled together" (hotan sunerchesthe, cf. v. 23: if the whole church should assemble together (ean ... sunelthe he ekklesia hole); w. 4, 5, 12 where the assembly ekklesias) is to be edified; and I Corinthians 11:18 where the gathering in the assembly (sunerchomenon en ekklesia) is also in view. We conclude of chapters 12 and 14 that they have in view the use of gifts, especially tongues and prophecy, in the public worship gatherings of the church.

Conclusion: 1 Corinthians 11:5 probably refers to public worship service

We have now examined chapters 11b, 12, and 14 to see if they provide clues as to the nature of the meeting described in chapter 1Ia in which women participated vocally by prayer and prophecy. We found that all three of these chapters appear to have public worship services in view. In the case of chapter 14 we found that the specific activities of 11:5, prayer and prophecy, are central to the discussion. In view of the presence of close links between the various chapters and the absence of any contrary indication, we conclude that it is most natural to assume that chapter 11a discusses the same sort of situation as chapters l1b, 12, and 14, the public worship service. The text does not close off the possibility that 11a may have some special meeting in view, but that conclusion would require compelling external evidence to make it more than a weak possibility. It is the opinion of numerous exegetes that such evidence is forthcoming from I Corinthians 14:33b-36 in which Paul specifically commands that women be in silence. It is to that text that we must now turn our attention.

D. 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36: When Must the Women Be Silent?

33 ".....As in all the congregations of the saints,
34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?
37 If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually, gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.
38 If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
39 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."
I Corinthians 14:33b-40, NIV

Recent attention given to the role of women in the church has focused critical attention on 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 in which Paul makes strong statements with regard to the silence of women. Many exegetes have rejected both as non-Pauline on the grounds of perceived conflicts with 1 Corinthians l l and Galatians 3:28. Others have concluded that these texts show us a "theologian in process." Such positions would explain that Paul was a man of his day and a servant/tool of God. In Galatians 3:28, we see the servant speaking; in I Corinthians 14 and I Timothy 2 we see the man of his day. Thus, it is sometimes contended, we see the humanity and divinity of God's Word. Many have raised serious objection to such an approach on the grounds that it makes our perception the arbiter of revelation, in that we decide when Paul is inspired and when he speaks only as a man of his day. This report rejects the two approaches above as inadequate for those who are committed to the Scripture as the Word of God and as dubious for any scholar who would be fair to the manuscripts which we possess. With regard to the former position, holding that this passage is incompatible with other Pauline passages, we would suggest that the fact that we are unable to reconcile two passages does not necessarily indicate that the text is at fault. The option that the interpreter is at fault must be seriously considered. In this case we are in the process of offering a view which we feel does not leave the texts in opposition to one another. With respect to the latter position, seeing Paul as a theologian in process, we would suggest that such a position must be a position of last resort in that a methodology which permits the scholar to discard his subject as inconsistent without having tried all avenues of resolution is predisposed to incomplete work. Those who take a strong view of Scripture will further feel that men are not at liberty to edit Scripture according to their own theological or historical prejudice. Unless a clear hermeneutical principle establishing which passages are "in process" and which are "normative" can be developed, the procedure is purely subjective. Further, it is a questionable enterprise to discard as subjective a text such as 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 when in the very next verse Paul commands that the Corinthians "acknowledge that the things which I (Paul) write to you are the Lord's commandment. But if anyone does not acknowledge this, he is not to be recognized."

Are the manuscripts unclear about 14:34-36?

A more serious question has been raised by some scholars with respect to the manuscript evidence for vv. 34-35. A few early manuscripts place them after v. 40. Examination of the chapter and the manuscripts causes us to reject this evidence as reason to deny the verses either a place in the text or their present place in the text.

The group of manuscripts which transpose vv. 34-35 to follow v. 40 are generally acknowledged to be relatively poor. They are headed by D G 88*. Manuscripts supporting the present arrangement include p46, [ALEPH], A, B, K, [Psi].
There are no manuscripts which omit the verses. While it is possible that the weaker set of manuscripts may preserve the true reading, it is decidedly less likely on the basis of the external evidence.

It should be noted that the manuscript evidence lends no support whatsoever to the thesis that the verses should be omitted. The internal evidence of the passage is also against the transposition. The easier reading is that of D G 88* in that w. 33 and 36 discuss the subject of prophecy while vv. 34 and 35 discuss the silence of women. Verses 34 and 35 thus appear to be sandwiched in an awkward place, dividing a discussion of prophecy. They fit much more comfortably after v. 40 which commands that all be done decently and in order. By moving them from their present location to follow v. 40 the text reads more smoothly in that the silence of women need not be included under the heading of a discussion of prophecy and may be included as part of the discussion of church order. This rationale explains why D G 88*, which tend to be edited, might make this transposition. It is very hard indeed to provide a rationale for a scribe making the reverse transposition. On the basic principle that the more difficult reading is to be preferred, we must conclude that the internal as well as the external evidence strongly support the thesis that vv. 34 and 35 are to be received as correct in the place in which they stand. We will deal with the text exactly as it stands.

The Structure of 1 Corinthians 14

1 Corinthians 14, as noted above deals with the exercise of gifts and with chaotic behavior in the Corinthians assemblies. The first portion discusses Paul's preference for prophecy over tongues while the latter portion deals with chaos in the assembly, fittingly concluding with a command that all things be done in an orderly fashion. While the original manuscript no doubt lacked paragraphing, we are used to it and not only make mental divisions of the text but also make formal printed divisions. The choice of paragraph breaks is of crucial important in I Corinthians 14. Modern versions have differed in their paragraphing of the latter half of the chapter, but a majority make the divisions at vv. 29, 33b or 34, 37, and 39. Paul's discussion, on this basis, moves from orderly worship and prophetic expression (vv. 29-33) to silence of women (vv. 34-36) to Pauline authority over prophets (vv. 37,38) to a summary about orderliness (v. 39). This construction puts v. 36 ("Was it from you that the Word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?") with the silencing of women and isolates vv. 34-36 from their context, which discusses prophecy rather than women. As will be explained below, we believe the major divisions of the text come at vv. 29, 36, and 39. On this basis the discussion of women falls under the heading of order for worship as either an independent topic or in connection with prophecy. If it is taken in connection with its surrounding context which discusses prophecy it is possible to discover a strong rationale for its present location in the chapter and to reconcile it with the teaching concerning women in chapter 11.

We would propose that the entire section from v. 29-39 is a discussion of prophecy and of its handling in the assembly. Each of the segments of the section is to be interpreted within such a frame. Verse 29 outlines principles which should govern the exercise of the prophetic gift. They parallel those which govern the exercises of tongues (v. 27). Two or three prophets are to speak and the others are to pass judgment. Verses 30-33a elaborate upon the first portion of v. 29, regulating the speech of the prophets: they are to maintain order and be silent if another is giving a message. Verses 33b-35 elaborate upon the last half of v. 29, prohibiting women from joining in the examination of the prophets. It would appear that for women to join in the judging of the prophets would be for them to enter into the judgment of men, which role was forbidden them by Paul. It is clear from chapter 11 that Paul did not consider prayer or prophecy by women to be violations of created authority structures. Such exercises involve no ecclesiastical authority on the part of the speaker. We have seen in our study of I Timothy that Paul did oppose women having teaching or other formal authority over men. If the women were to participate in the examination of the prophets at the worship service, passing judgment upon the messages of men and women prophets, this would involve them in precisely what Paul prohibited; accordingly he commanded that they be silent. It should be noted from his language that his concern was not simply that there be silence rather than speech. He indicated that the speech in view would be a violation of the Law and a rejection of women's role of submission. Paul's concern is exactly the same here as in I Timothy 2, that, in keeping with the creational pattern, men rather than women exercise cultic authority.

Some students of this passage have sought to interpret Paul's word for speech (lalein) as prattle or babble. While the lexicons do permit such a translation, it is without support from other Pauline passages and does not help elucidate the text in view. It is hard to see why Paul would discuss subjection and learning if the issue at stake in w. 34 and 35 is simply babble and gossip.

It is helpful to the modern reader to understand that men and women were separated in the synagogues. It is likely that Paul's churches, which first met in the synagogues, followed this pattern of separation. The women were therefore not able to reach their husbands during the service itself. To have reached the men would have caused a great deal of commotion and disturbance. The consequences of this division for the judgment of the prophets is not hard to discover. If we assume that after a prophet or perhaps several had spoken the congregation followed Paul's instructions and examined the prophets as to their message and as to its faithfulness, we have a setting in which Paul's directions make good sense. The examination of the prophets would be a time of much education and edification as well as a time of formal judgment. The women, who could not reach their husbands, could either sit silently or participate by asking questions. If they were not allowed to ask questions, how could they learn? If they were allowed to ask them, would they not be participating in ecclesiastical judgment of men? Paul directed that the problem of judging was the more vital one and that the women could not participate. He expressed his concern for their learning, however, by directing that they ask their husbands any questions which they had when they get home. An expanded paraphrase of w. 29, 34, 35 may help the reader understand the import of what has been said. "

29 "Let two or three prophets speak and let the others pass judgment (as to whether what was said was true to the gospel) ...
34 Let the women keep silent in the assembly (and not enter into the judgment of the prophets for they are not permitted to enter into the judgment of men). Let them rather subject themselves as the Law also directs. If they desire to learn anything (about the prophet's teaching, they should not pose them during the judging of the prophets, nor should they disrupt the service by walking over to their husbands;)
35 let them ask their husbands at home."

Verse 36 belongs with w. 37 and 38

A further word is in order concerning v. 36, "Was it from you that the Word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?" Many versions have taken this as a criticism of the women who were so bold as to speak in the assemblies. Taken as such it appears to criticize women who would dare speak or prophesy. Close reflection on the text suggests that this view is a serious mistake. It is difficult to see how women who spoke to judge men could think that the word came first from them or that it came only from them . . . after all, they were judging others who were prophets! Even if we understand the text as silencing all women prophets, it is hard to grasp the thrust of Paul's remark, for it would not prohibit women speaking as prophets, but rather concedes that women do speak God's word; it insists that they are not the only ones who do. Is it likely that the women at Corinth claimed to be the first and only proclaimers of God's word?

We would suggest that the problems outlined above are dispelled entirely if v. 36 is taken with vv. 37 and 38 and that, further, Paul's grammar decidedly refutes the thesis that v. 36 is directed to women. Verse 37 asserts Paul's authority over all prophets and spiritually gifted persons in the congregation, insisting that they recognize his words as the commandments of the Lord. Verse 36 prepares the way by questioning those proud Corinthians who think their insights superior to Paul's. Paul ironically asks them whether the word came first from them. Their answer had to be, "No, you first preached it to us and our knowledge of the truth came through you." His second question follows up the first, "Has God's word come only to you?" They had to reply, "No, it came to you first and then, when we had heard it from you, we believed." Paul follows up on this by insisting that his words be recognized by all as from God. Not only does the context of vv. 37 and 38 suggest v. 36 ought to be taken with them, but the Greek of v. 36b conclusively shows that Paul did not have women alone in view. Paul wrote, e eis humas monous katentesen (or has [it] come only to you). Monous must refer to either a masculine or masculine and feminine group of individuals. It definitively indicates an audience of men only or of mixed composition. It cannot indicate a feminine audience! Paul would have used the feminine, monas, if he had intended to speak to women only. We conclude that verse 36 is not directed to the women of vv. 34 and 35 but rather prepares the congregation for vv. 37 and 38 which insist that the Corinthians prophets and "spiritual" leaders acknowledge Paul's authority.

1 Corinthians 14:34 and 35 prohibit women from judging prophets

Our examination of I Corinthians 14 has indicated that, contrary to many popular readings, these verses are not a disruption of the discussion of prophecy intended to verse permission to pray and prophesy given three chapters earlier, nor are they a directive for "ordering" the congregation by silencing women at all times as they might be if the verses were transposed to follow v. 40. Our investigation has rather suggested that these verses are an elaboration of v. 29 concerning the evaluation of the prophets. As elsewhere, Paul is concerned with the exercise of ecclesiastical authority; in particular he intends to guard against the confusion of the roles of men and women. Far from intending a blanket silence of women, from whom the word of God did come by prophecy Paul intended only that they should not judge men. As presented this text does not at all violate the instructions of chapter 11 which insists on proper marital authority structures in the assembly when women pray or prophesy.

E. Genesis 1,2,3: Pre- and Post Fall Relations

Our examination of Pauline texts has brought to light the fact that in each of the instances where Paul discusses the relation of the sexes within the church he makes allusion to the Old Testament, particularly to the Genesis accounts. In I Corinthians 11, the allusion is explicitly to the pre-fall situation (w. 7,8,9,12 and implicitly so in v. 14). (For a lengthier discussion of the argument of these verses, cf. Hurley, Man and Woman, chapter 2, and "Did Paul Require Veils," WTJ, vol. 35 [1973], pp. 190-220). 1 Corinthians 14:35 makes an ambiguous reference to "the Law." It is difficult to assess precisely Paul's intention. He may be referring to the creation accounts, or he may be referring to the general tenor of the Old Testament. It would seem more likely, on the basis of his other remarks, that he is alluding to the creation accounts. 1 Timothy 2 makes specific reference to the pre-fall relation of Adam and Eve (v. 13) and to the situation at the fall (v. 14). Our discussion above has suggested that Paul's point vas not that the woman vas gullible, but that theological authority did not belong to her. In view of Paul's consistent use of the creation narratives, it is appropriate that we concentrate our attention at least briefly upon these passages. This attention is particularly appropriate at the present time because much of the present discussion of sex roles centers around the thesis that Paul faithfully reflects the creation accounts at Galatians 3:28 and elsewhere falls victim to his rabbinical upbringing and violates the intent of God's creation.

Genesis 1:26-31: Male and female created he them.

26 "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'
27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' 29 Then God said, `Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food'; and it was so.
31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there vas morning, the sixth day." (NASV)

The creation account of the first chapter of Genesis presents mankind as the image of God. Theological debate has risen over the exact nature of the image described in this passage and over its implications for the relation of men and women. Some exegetes have joined Karl Barth in identifying the duality, the male and female pair, as constitutive of the image. On such a basis, the essence of humanness and of the image of God is the dynamic interrelation of the pair. Whatever the meaning of "image," it is very clear from the text that no hierarchy is contemplated. Those who make this first biblical text the first and primary definition of man-woman relations tend also to stress the egalitarian element of this text. Does this text teach that God's design for men and women is that they rule over the earth in an egalitarian relation?

It must first of all be noted that the plural forms accompanying the Hebrew 'adam (man/mankind/Adam) make it clear that we must understand the verses to be saying, "Let us make mankind in our image ... and let them rule ... and God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God created he it (mankind); male and female created he them." It is not the man Adam but the race which is in view. This fact affects our interpretation of the text, for, whatever final view is taken, it must take account of the fact that the race is being discussed.

Karl Barth and others would isolate the duality of the race as that which is in the image of God. Thus the loving communication and joint rule of the pair are drawn to the fore. Does the text really support such a reading? Chapter one of Genesis has laid great stress upon the sovereign commands of God and on his creation of various orders of beings. The animals are not considered as individuals but rather as kinds throughout the chapter. In addition, they are noted as ruling or functioning in their appropriate spheres. The creation of mankind follows this pattern precisely. God indicates that he will make mankind in his image (w. 26,27,28). The text then proceeds to inform us more about the implications of this fact. Specifically it stresses that man will rule the earth. If all else is missed, the rule of God over his creation would stand out in Genesis 1. It should not be surprising, therefore, that the focus of the discussion with respect to mankind's role as image should be mankind's rule. The entire passage from v. 26 to v. 30, with the exception of those statements that mankind will be or is God's image and the remark that man-kind is male and female, is a discussion of mankind's rule over the creation. With the exception of the identification of mankind as male and female, there is no suggestion at all that distinctions between humans are in view. In view of the overwhelming stress on mankind's rule and the subsidiary nature of the remark that mankind is both male and female, it seems foolish to assert that it is the relation of the sexes that constitutes the image! It would appear from the fact that mankind as a whole is in view that this passage is not the one to investigate if we are to discover whether the Scripture intends to make distinctions between humans. The passage is intending to contrast humans with the rest of the earth and to compare them to God.

The text does seem concerned not only to make the point that all mankind is appointed by God to image him by ruling over the earth, but also to indicate that women as well as men are the image of God. As we have noted, v. 27 reads: "God created man(kind) in his own image, in the image of God created he him/it (mankind); male and female created he them." The Hebrew 'adam (man/mankind/Adam) is inherently ambiguous as to its meaning. Whatever its meaning, it would demand a masculine pronoun at the end of the verse (created he him/it). It would appear that Moses vas keenly aware of the possible misinterpretation of his words, that some might hold that men only were in view at the end of v. 27 and that therefore only men were the image of God. By making v. 26 unambiguously a corporate reference, by adding to V. 27 the fact that they (mankind) were created male and female, and by making the command/blessing of w. 28-30 plural references, Moses prevented all but the most foolish from limiting the image to the males. (Some have failed to note that Paul does not identify men exclusively as the image of God in I Corinthians 11:7. He specifically avoids doing this. For more on this topic, cf. Hurley, Man and Woman, pp. 56-66).

We conclude that these verses are intended to inform us as to the origin of mankind and as to the role which God intended for the race. There is no distinction drawn between men and women, and no intention of discussing their distinctive roles. The text compares mankind with God and discusses them with reference to the other kinds of creatures. All who would be at all fair in their handling of the text must acknowledge the parity of the male and female as image of God and as rulers of the earth under him.

Genesis 2:18-25: An appropriate helper

Whereas the creation account of Genesis I discusses the sorts of realms and rulers created by God, Genesis 2 focuses upon the people created to rule over the earth. Chronologically Genesis 2 must be planed within the sixth day of chapter 1 as it discusses the creation of people. We must investigate the role relations of the pair described in chapter 2. The purposes of this report are sufficiently limited that it is unnecessary to review the entire chapter. The portion relevant to our task is reproduced below:

7 "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
18 Then the Lord God said, `It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.'
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.
22 And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
23 And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.'
24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (NASV)

These verses give a more detailed look at the activity of God in the creation of mankind. Whereas some modern (and ancient) scholars have sought to set the accounts of the two chapters at odds with each other, we will presume them complementary to one another. The central issue for this report is the relation between the sexes in this account. Verses 7, 21, and 22 discuss the creation of the man and the woman. The man is created prior to his partner but it is not good that he should be alone (v. 18); accordingly God forms a "helper who is appropriate to him" (ezer kenegdo). Much has been written as to the meaning of the prior creation of the man, of the derivative origin of the woman, and of the terminology used to describe her. Do these indicate any form of subordination? Is the woman ontologically inferior because derivative? Is she economically (functionally) inferior?

Let us first consider the term helper ('ezer). Some exegetes have sought to derive from the fact that the woman was created as "helper" that she was therefore inferior. This interpretation depends on making "helper" the equivalent of "lesser assistant." It is highly questionable whether this is a legitimate reading of the word. The Hebrew word is never rendered assistant. It most often describes one who will help in time of need and frequently describes the relation of God to needy Israel (eg. Ex. 18:4; Psa. 70:5; 115:9,10,11; 146:5). If any conclusion is to be drawn from the choice of "helper" ('ezer) in Genesis 2, it is that the woman was made to help needy Adam and may actually be his superior as God is superior to needy man. It is unlikely that the latter inference is to be countenanced, but it is certainly to be affirmed that the fact that the woman is the helper of man does not make her his inferior. What of the other information concerning the relation of the man and the woman?

We have already noted that Paul chose to use the prior creation of the man and the derivative origin of the woman to indicate that the woman was in a subordinate role. He further indicated that the woman was made for the sake of the man rather than vine versa. Does the text support or deny Paul's interpretation? The text itself does present the man as the prior and the woman as the derivative. There can be no mistake on these points. Further, the text makes it clear that the woman was made to provide company for the man. The Lord's words regarding the solitariness of the man indicate that the woman was made for the man (Let us make a helper for him who is appropriate to him, v. 18). Although these texts are formally amenable to Paul's handling of them, a question lingers in the minds of most exegetes: Do the texts really propose Paul's interpretation, or are they "merely compatible" with it? If taken by themselves, it appears to us, the texts do not compel one to adopt Paul's position. The temporal priority of the man and the derivative nature of the woman are not developed as indicative of her subordinate role, although against a Hebrew social background it might be inferred that the first made would correspond to the firstborn. This association would carry with it the conjunction of temporal priority and priority of authority. Similarly the derivation of one being from another would have its parallel in childbirth in which the derivative being is subordinate to the generating beings. Having observed these parallels to Hebrew social order it is necessary to note that, although we may draw these analogies, the text does not specifically do so. The most which may be said of the actual text of Genesis 2 is that it is amenable to several interpretations.

Three basic interpretations would be as follows: (1) Female superiority: Eve's role as helper could be interpreted as parallel to the Lord's role as the helper of Israel and therefore as that of helper of one in great need and with lesser ability. This view demands that nothing at all be inferred from the sequence of the creation of the man and woman and, insofar as it indicated dependent need, is probably in violation of the text. The man is not pictured as having desperate need, but rather as needing company and assistance. (2) Equality of the sexes: on the face of the text, without any inference from the priority of the man, the most likely inference would be that the woman was a companion for the man who would join him in his work. This would not necessarily suggest any subordination. If this interpretation is made, it is perhaps a bit surprising that there is not further attention called to this equality as it would be so unusual against a Hebrew background. (3) Female subordination: if inferences are drawn from priority or derivation, or from the "created for the sake of" aspects of the text, it is possible to interpret the text as indicating female subordination. This reading is perhaps the most likely when the text is read against a Hebrew backdrop in which subordination would be an established fact and presumed unless otherwise rejected. How is the exegete to choose between these possible interpretations? Those who take a conservative view of Scripture will side with Paul and adopt the latter position. The clarity of Paul's chosen interpretation makes the issue one of little real debate for conservatives. Despite the clarity of Paul's view, however, most interpreters will find themselves wishing that the text of Genesis were just a bit more clear. If we consider the third chapter of Genesis, the text is more clear and Paul's interpretation not only possible, but the only really likely one. It is to this text that we now turn.

Genesis 3: Extant Relations Distorted

The third chapter of Genesis has received a great deal of attention during the last few centuries. In recent years, in terms of the present debate, it has often been held that Paul built his view of the role of women from this chapter rather than the preceding one. On such a basis, Paul is condemned for not having recognized the true genius of the Gospel ... or damned with faint praise for having sometimes recognized the "advance of the Gospel." We have argued above that a close examination of Paul's treatment of women finds that he does not base his position on this third chapter at all. However, although it is not the basis of his position, it is vital to a proper understanding of it. We will not examine the whole chapter, but will focus upon the curse section of it.

14 "And the Lord God said to the serpent, `Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.'
16 To the woman He said, `I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'
17 Then to Adam He said, `Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, "You shall not eat from it"; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."' (NASV)

The curse section of this narrative consists of three distinctive curses for the three major actors of the Fall. Let us consider first the curse upon the serpent (for lengthy treatments of the fall narrative, see G. Vos, Biblical Theology, Eerdmans, 1948, pp. 52-55, and, at a slightly less technical level, E. J. Young, Genesis Three, Banner of Truth). The first part of the curse (v.14) announces the cursedness of the serpent beyond all other animals of the field and goes on to comment on the manner of locomotion which marks serpents. It is unclear whether this portion involves a new situation (i.e., the serpent who previously walked or flew now crawls) or whether it is simply an announcement that the serpent's lowly posture and constant licking of the dust is now to be seen as a sign of his cursed state (thus paralleling the use of the rainbow in the opposite direction when it became a sign of blessing to Noah). Whichever the case, the locomotion is a sign of the role of the serpent. The second half of the curse is more immediately relevant to our present task. In it (v. 15) we learn of the new relation which obtains between the woman and the serpent and between their respective seed. It should be carefully noted that the new thing is not that they relate to one another, but the manner of their relation. Where previously there had not been enmity, there is now to be such. The relation has become one of pain (bruising) and hatred. The fall has distorted relations.

The same basic pattern can be discerned in the curse upon the man (w. 17-19). As a consequence of his disobedience the ground is changed and their previous relation is distorted. Whereas previously he had dressed the garden and eaten from it with freedom (2:15,16), the fall produced a situation in which the man would eat in sorrow all the days of his life (3:17). Although it would continue to yield its fruit and he would continue to eat of it (3:18, cf. 2:15,16), the ground would now resist his efforts and raise up thorns and thistles to cause him pain. Man's role as guardian of the garden of God, in fellowship with the source of life, was changed to that of an exile laboring in the sweat of his face until he dropped from toil under the judgment of the Lord (3:19). That which is new is not that the man will work the soil or that the soil will yield to him its fruit. The new element of the post-fall situation is that the two will fight with one another and the relation will be painful.

With the curses on the serpent and the man as background, let us turn to consider the curse upon the woman. It consists of two basic parts: sorrow and childbirth will be greatly multiplied and her relation with her husband will be difficult. Let us consider first the question of childbirth. The commands of creation (1:28) include an obligation to multiply and fill the earth. Unless we wish to posit a major change in reproductive process as a result of the fall, childbirth was a part of the pre-fall process. The text specifically implies this in that it does not say that childbirth is the curse, but rather that sorrow which will be involved in it constitutes to curse. The post-fall relation is not new but distorted as compared to the pre-fall situation. What of the second part of the curse upon the woman? What does the text mean when it says that her desire shall be to her husband and/but he shall rule over her? Does this mean that she is newly subordinate and he newly ruler? Is it possible that the newness is precisely the desire and the rule where previously partnership had been the rule? The analogy of the preceding portions of the curse is against such a reading. In the case of the serpent there had always been a relation of subordination with the humans; the new aspect was the enmity. In the case of the man and the land, his task was always to subdue the land; the new element was the resistance and strife which emerged. In the case of childbirth there was no issue of subordination, but the strife between mankind and physical nature comes to the fore in God's gracious continuation of mankind's ability to reproduce while deserving only of total judgment (reflected also in the sign of circumcision). Whereas childbirth previously served to help man fulfill God's command to multiply, it will henceforth no longer do so without pain. In the case of the husband-wife relation the force of analogy suggests that the new element is not the subordination of the female partner, but rather that the extant subordination be marked by strife. This view is the most natural to the text, but demands that the desire (shuq) of the wife and the rule (mshl) of the husband be understood in a negative sense. The import of the text must be, "Your desire shall be to (usurp, or be in challenge/the place of, i.e., to rule over) your husband and/but he shall (nonetheless, despite your assaults) rule over you." It may be asked whether the text can bear such a negative interpretation. The next chapter of Genesis provides us with a definitive answer to this question. In speaking to Cain, the Lord says, "Sin lies at the door and his desire (shuq) is to (rule over) you, and/but you must rule (mshl) over him" (4:7). The parallel with Genesis 3 is obvious. The desire of sin is to (overcome) Cain, but Cain must overcome it. The woman will now desire to (overcome) her husband, but he will in fact overcome her.

We conclude that Genesis 3:16 does not teach that subordination is the curse any more than childbirth. The curse is that the woman will not receive the rule of her husband and that the rule of the husband will no longer be peaceful. The pre-fall relation has been distorted and is a source of pain. This conclusion has direct implications for our reading of Genesis 2. It implies that Paul is right when he infers a hierarchy prior to the Fall. While modern interpreters might not choose the creational equivalent of primogeniture or the corresponding derivative nature of the woman's creation as their vehicle for illustrating the subordinate role of the woman, they cannot fault Paul for reading into the text what is not there. Paul has picked up (albeit with the guidance of the Holy Spirit) what modern writers often missed in Genesis 3: the creational pattern was one of subordination of the woman.

Genesis 3:6: A suggestion as to the "deception" of the woman

Although we have found Paul's handling of primal subordination to be consonant with the text of Genesis 2 and 3, there are a few more issues to be dealt with. The first one to be examined is the "deception" of Eve. We have suggested above that Paul's point in 1 Timothy 2 was that Eve was deceived but Adam was not. The text of Genesis 3 does not discuss Adam's state of deception, but it does relate Eve's claim to have been deceived (3:13). It may be, as many commentators remark, that the deception of the woman did not constitute the fall of the race and that the actual fall awaited the sin of the man who stood as representative of the race. Such a position may not be faulted as it certainly lines up with Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. Another suggestion, however, may be made. Genesis 3:18 says, "She took of the fruit thereof and ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate." The text seems to imply that the woman ate, took some to her husband, and that he too ate. If the text is read as sequential, the woman disobeyed God before her husband. The style of Genesis and of Hebrew genealogy suggests another way of reading the text. English narratives tend to follow a more or less strict historical sequence. Hebrew narratives and genealogies do not always do this. The simplest example of the Hebrew style of the relation of Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis 1 is concerned to discuss the creation, to note God's benediction of the completed creation and to conclude with the Sabbath of God in 2:3. As we have previously noted, the events of Genesis 2:4 onward have their start on the sixth day of Genesis 1. It would seem that the composer was quite satisfied to follow his train of thought in Genesis 1 through to its end on the seventh day and then to dip back into the chronology of that account to supply details which are vital to the understanding of 2:4ff, i.e., the preparation of the garden and creation of the people, belonging on the sixth day. This same sort of thought pattern is evidence in many of the genealogies which name a central figure (e.g., Noah in Genesis 10) and his multiple sons (e.g., Shem, Ham, and Japheth) and then follow each of the son's lines out at some length. Thus Genesis 10 traces the line of Japheth from v. 2-v. 5, the line of Ham from v. 6-v. 20, and the line of Shem from v. 21-v.31. The start of each genealogy represents a move to a time period prior to the end of the previous genealogy. The more important genealogy for the biblical narrative is that of Shem which comes last and is repeated in a different form in chapter 11 where the descent of Abraham is in view.

These two examples of Hebrew willingness to follow an account to its end and then recommence at a significant point within the previous narrative offer a potential explanation of the account of Adam's fall. The account of Eve's temptation runs from 3:1 to 3:6. It is concerned with the temptation and fall of Eve. This account has its natural terminus with the fact that she adopted the serpent's interpretation of theological reality and acted upon it by eating the fruit. We would suggest that, instead of conceiving of the last segment as verse 6 (she gave to her husband with her and he ate) as continuing on in historical sequence from 6a, we conceive of it as following the pattern established by the temporal regression of the narrative from 2:4 onwards, that we should consider that the author has stepped back into his chronology to give us vital information concerning the actual events of the fall. On this basis the narrative at the end of v. 6 confirms to us that it was not the woman's role to make theological decisions, that it was the man's. It explains that the deceived, but not yet sinful woman took fruit to her husband and explained to him the serpent's interpretation. The man, not at all deceived, took the fruit, exercised his husbandly, priestly role and said, "OK, we will accept that God is a liar and that the serpent really has our best interest at heart. Let's eat." On this basis the responsibility is squarely upon his shoulders and the last segment of the verse an example of the sort of style seen in Genesis 2 and in the genealogies. This basic reading is mildly supported by the fact that both the serpent and the man are cursed because of their actions; the serpent was cursed for what he did to Eve (he deceived her) and Adam for "hearkening" (yielding, not listening) to the voice of his wife. Eve, on the other hand, is given no particulars concerning the basis of her curse. We suspect that it comes to her because she was represented by Adam rather than simply because she was deceived. This reading of the text finds Paul's remarks to be exegetical keys to the text rather than rabbinic speculation.

The reader should note that it is not necessary to concur with this section to approve of the report.

Multiple Roles: A problem when interpreting the first pair.

Interpreters of Adam and Eve face a major problem. The relation of this pair is an intricate superimposing of many roles. The two of them constitute family, church, and race all in one. The activity of Adam as husband is difficult to distinguish from his actions as priest or as head of state. The text does not seem concerned to separate these roles. If we are to separate their respective roles, it must be by inference from other passages. It is only as we examine God's design for more complex societies that we can begin to discern the distinctive roles of the sexes in God's social institutions. This examination of more complex societies, however, is complicated by the Fall which distorted basic relations. As we move chronologically through the history of redemption, we find that beyond the distortion of the Fall lies partial restoration in the present in Christ, and still further ahead lies complete restoration of God's people at the return of Christ and its attendant manifestation of the glory of the liberty of the sons of God (Romans 8). In the case of marriage we are able to discern various portions of the changes with the progress of redemption. In the garden the woman was subordinate but not oppressed. After the Fall we find strife between the partners but continued subordination. Ephesians 5:21-33 points to a restoration of the harmonious relation as the two partners are restored in Christ. Matthew 22:30 points to a further change at the resurrection, one in which marriage is done away. If this last passage indicates the end of husband wife relations, we see the time when the authority of the husband will be done away. Until that time, it would appear, his role remains. This perspective was manifestly Paul's. We may assume a similar sort of perspective for the cultic aspect of life. Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah, the Levites, and the (also-male-only) elders of the church seem to be God's appointed holders of ecclesiastical authority. We are neither free to dismiss God's pattern nor free to presume that it is based upon some sort of inherent superiority of males over females. God has not informed us of the reason; speculation would be vain.

The scripture delineates three great societal institutions: family, church, and state. We have argued for the continuing subordination of woman to men in two of the three (family and church). Does the Scripture also teach the subordination of women in the social order? It is an impossible task to answer this question with respect to Adam and Eve. We cannot distinguish a social order between them. We can, however, examine this theme at later points in the history of redemption. We note that women were generally under paternal or marital authority in the Old Testament and that it is therefore hard to assess whether they might also have independent social status. There are, however, sufficient examples of women who were not under such authority that we can answer our question. Three great women of the Old Testament stand out as having played major social roles: Miriam, Deborah, Hulda. The case of Deborah is perhaps the clearest for our purposes. If it is immoral for a woman to rule over men in the social realm, God is surely at fault in establishing Deborah as judge over Israel. It must be noted that this role was not at all typical for Israelite women. Typically it was men who had the role of prophet or judge. The most common occurrence cannot, however, be determinative for principle. The question of principle is established by the appointment by God of a woman judge.

We conclude that women are not by creation design subordinate in the social sphere. Were there more space, it would be possible to examine the role of the wife in Proverbs 31 who clearly ruled over a fleet of servants and who was engaged in buying land (birthrights!), the rights of a widow to stand on equal footing with men, the role of women in the ministries of Paul and Jesus. We conclude that the nature of Adam and Eve's situation was such as to preclude clear differentiation of roles within the spheres of family, church, and society. Examination of further biblical information strongly indicates that in the spheres of family and church, female subordination continues to the present. In the sphere of society, there is little early information, but there is clear later example establishing that it is not a matter of divine principle that women should be excluded from equal participation with men in the sphere of society. It must, however, be further noted that certain situations might make it unwise for a given woman to take social authority over a given man (e.g.., a wife over her own husband).

F. 1 Timothy 3:8-13: Women Deacons?

8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, not double tongues, not indulging in much wine, and not greedy for dishonest gain.
9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not slanderers but sober and faithful in everything.
12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.
13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

The discussion of women as deacons brings with it much emotional response within the church. Some denominations have placed deacons on the ruling body of the church. This practice makes the election of women deacons the functional equivalent of giving them ecclesiastical authority over men. Such a practice is not the tradition of the RPCES. This denomination has understood the roles of elder and deacon to be distinguished precisely by the inclusion of responsibilities in the area of oversight. On the basis of passages such as I Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2,3, of the obvious parallels between the elders of the New Testament congregation and those in Judaism, and of the New Testament paralleling of presbuteros (elder/presbyter) and episkopos (overseer/guardian), the Presbyterian church has seen one of the distinctive elements of the elder's role as distinguished from that of the deacon to be the possession of ecclesiastically binding authority. The essence of the deacon's role is defined by the name which the office bears, diakonos (minister/servant). If this distinction is maintained, there need be no question of setting women in authority over men by ordaining them as deacons. The ordination of women deacons, however, does not hinge upon this consideration alone. It hangs upon the demonstration of biblical warrant. This, we will suggest, is to be found in I Timothy 3:11 when carefully examined and taken in conjunction with Romans 16:1.

Exegetical debate over 1 Timothy 3:11 centers on the meaning of the word gunaikas (women/wives) found at the start of the verse. The Greek word may be translated either "women" or "wives." There is no way to tell which is intended from the word itself. Translations have differed, the KJV, NEB and NIV preferring "wives" and the ASV, RSV, and NASV preferring "women." The specific issue is whether Paul intends to speak of (a) women in general, (b) wives of elders and deacons, (n) wives of deacons, or (d) women deacons. We may confidently dismiss (a) and (b) on the grounds that it would not be probable that Paul would break his train of thought concerning deacons to insert a remark about women in general which requires them to behave like men deacons and that it seems very unlikely that Paul would return without remark from wives of deacons and elders (v. 11) to deacons (w. 12, 13). It is much more likely that he had in mind either deacons' wives of women deacons. Which of these options is to be preferred? We think the latter for a variety of reasons. If Paul had intended to discuss the wives of deacons, he could easily have made this clear by adding "the" (tas) or "their" (auton) before gunaikas (women/wives). Translators wishing to interpret this passage as discussing wives must either implicitly or explicitly supply gratuitously either "the" or "their." Two further considerations speak against the "wives" interpretation. Firstly, it should be noted that Paul has not commented upon the qualifications required of elders' wives. It is very unlikely that he would carefully comment on deacons' wives and neglect those of the elders. Further, Paul might have introduced the "wives" in a fashion parallel to that in which he introduced the children in v. 4: "having wives (gunaikas echontes). He did not so choose. Instead of paralleling the introduction of children or having an article or pronoun, gunaikas (women/wives) is introduced in v. 11 by hosautos (likewise). This makes reference bank to w. 2 and 8. The three verses (2, 8, 11), taken in sequence, require, "elders must be ... likewise deacons ... likewise women . . ." The force of the parallels requires that the women of v. 11 be a class parallel to the elders and deacons rather than a class subordinate to deacons such as wives.

Against this it is sometimes urged that Paul return to deacons in v. 12 and thus seems to isolate the "women" of v. 11 as a parenthetical group. A closer look offers a more likely view of the situation. The requirements for the deacons and the "women" are strikingly similar:


worthy of respect
not double tongues
not indulging in much wine
not greedy for gain

worthy of respect
not slanderers
faithful in all things

The close similarity of the requirements suggests that the women may have jobs similar to those of the men. If the close parallel be granted, it remains to be explained why Paul returned to the topic of deacons in v. 12 and why he did not call the women deacons "deaconesses" rather than "women." Dr. John Warner remarks in correspondence with the committee,

The requirements of verses 1-11 have to do with qualifications for the offices themselves. But verse 13's aorist participle indicates that verse 12's requirement has to do with something that will be true of a man after he has served as a deacon (perhaps, that he becomes a likely candidate for elder: why else would leadership ability be required of these men as it is of elders?). This change, from requirements for an office to a requirement that has reference to something post-office, is sufficient to explain why verse 12 occurs after verse 11, even if verse 11 refers to an office other than that of deacon.

Dr. Werner's remarks explain the return to the topic of deacons.

There remains only the matter of the choice of "women" rather than "deaconess" (the NIV suggests "deaconess" in the margin). Romans 16:1 may shed light on this aspect of the matter. In it Paul identifies "our sister Phoebe" as a deacon (diakonon) and commends her to the Roman congregation. Because the word diakonos can be translated either "deacon" or "servant" it is important to note that Paul did not choose to use the feminine form of the word but rather broke gender to identify Phoebe with the masculine form of the noun. This very strongly suggests that he was not simply calling her a "servant" of the church at Cenchreae but was rather using a formal term identifying her as a "deacon" of the church a Cenchreae. It would be somewhat parallel to the manner in which we would address a woman press dent. She would be addressed as "Madame President" rather than as "Madame Presidentess." If, as Romans 16:1 indicates, the women deacons were called "deacons" rather than "deaconesses," it would explain Paul's choice of words in 1 Timothy 3:11. Having identified the male deacons by the masculine noun "diakonos" (deacon) in v. 8, he could hardly go on to intro dune the women deacons by the same term. That would read, "the elder must be . . . likewise deacons . . . likewise deacons . . ." Such clumsy and confusing style could be avoided by simply writing what Paul did write, "elders must be . . . likewise deacons . . . likewise women ..." We may Paraphrase Paul's remarks as follows:

Elders must be . . . Likewise (there are requirements for deacons.) Deacons must be worthy of respect . . . Likewise (there are requirements for) women (deacons. They) must be. .."

We conclude that the best interpretation of 1 Timothy 3:11 would understand Paul to be giving instructions regarding the qualifications for those women who are to be considered for the office of deacon rather than giving instructions concerning deacons' wives or deaconesses. Inasmuch as this office has no ruling authority and inasmuch as Paul used the same word to describe both male and female deacons, there seems to be no significant reason why the contemporary church should not ordain-women as deacons or should segregate male and female deacons.


A. Exegetical Conclusions

Our exegetical studies have brought the following conclusions:

(1) All mankind may enter the Body of Christ upon faith in Christ. There are no racial, social, or sexual differences at this level (Galatians 3:28).

(2) Paul consistently taught that sexual differences were to be maintained in the marital and the ecclesiastical realms (1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Corinthians 11:8,9; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35). Specifically in the ecclesiastical realm he acknowledged women's privilege to pray and prophesy in the public worship service (1 Timothy 2:8-10; 1 Corinthians 11:5) while carefully prohibiting them from exercising formal ecclesiastical authority (1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35).

(3) Paul consistently and legitimately employed the early chapters of Genesis and, on theological grounds, considered them normative in his own day. We see no reason that the present church should not continue to consider them relevant (1 Corinthians 11:8,9; 1 Corinthians 14:35; 1 Timothy 2:11-15).

(4) Paul's churches knew and utilized women deacons (1 Timothy 3:11; Romans 16:1).

B. Application of Exegetical Conclusions to the Present Situation

The application of our findings to the present situation requires an assessment of the actual functioning of the church. Our discussion will be divided into two sections dealing with the special offices of the church and with other functions respectively. It will become clear that while knowledge of the biblical principles allows many decisions to be made, specific situations will require specific, painstaking, contextual decisions rather than general rules.

Women and the Special Offices

We will confine our remarks in this section to the special offices of elder and deacon.

Eldership: We have noted above that the Scripture clearly restricts the exercise of formal ecclesiastical authority to men. This authority rests with the elders. It therefore follows simply that women are not called to be nor may they be ordained as elders. To do so would explicitly violate 1 Timothy 2:12 and cannot be permitted by those who would submit themselves to the Word of God. This conclusion pertains whether one holds a two or three office view.

Diaconate: The office of deacon is not an office which involves the exercise of ecclesiastical authority. In the Pauline churches it was open to women. It must therefore be open to qualified women in our churches. There appears to be no reason to identify "women deacons" as "deaconesses" if that implies a separate office.

Women and Other Functions Within the Body

The question of the role of women in church functions other than those of the special offices is a particularly vexing one. There has been much debate as to whether women could teach Sunday school, lead Bible studies, be missionaries, serve on church boards, or vote in congregational meetings. In many instances these issues have been debated without any clear cut principles save "women are not to have authority." This principle is very simple, but of course it needs further explication for it does not specify what constitutes having authority. Our previous discussion has established that the area in which women may not have authority over men is that of ecclesiastical authority, which authority is vested in the elders. As we shall see below, this observation in conjunction with the fact that the Scriptures recognize as basic offices the special offices of elder and deacon and the so-called general office of all believers, provides some guidance as to what areas may be prohibited to women. With respect to authority, it must be stressed that women are under their husbands' authority in marriage and under the elders' authority in the church. Apart from these structures of family and church (i.e., in society), they are not by creational role subordinate to men. "Women-in-general" are not under the authority of "men-in-general"; neither are women somehow of lesser rank than those men within the congregation who are not elders. A central principle, therefore, regarding the role of women within the church is that with respect to ecclesiastical authority, there are but two groups within the church: elders and non-elders. On this basis, the debate over whether or not "women" may undertake a given activity within the church is seen to be basically misguided, for it presumes that there are not only elders and non-elders, but also that male non-elders (men-in-general) are of greater authority than female non-elders (women-in-general). Let us consider this principle of authority as it relates to some of the present practices of the church.

Voting church membership

When the church corporations meet, the women attend as full voting members. On this basis they may conceivably outvote the males of the corporation. At present our churches do not consider this an improper exercise of authority. The principle outlined above would similarly hold this to be a legitimate activity as the corporation has no formal binding ecclesiastical authority. The authority of the elders is not undercut when non-elders (of whichever sex) have corporation votes.

When our congregations meet to issue calls or to conduct other church business a similar situation may arise in which the women might outvote the men. At present our denomination does not consider this situation to be in violation of the apostle's commands. While it might be debated whether such a vote is in fact a violation of apostolic directive, it would seem that the doctrinal authority of the session vis-à-vis the non-elders is not undercut by such votes.

Congregational Committees

Women frequently serve on various congregational committees (e.g.., pulpit committees, flower committees, missions committees). It has been held that such committees do not violate apostolic directives as they serve under the appointing sessions. According to the principle laid out above such activity is legitimate for women if it would be appropriate for non-elder men of the congregation to participate on such committees. The authority of the elders would be as much undercut if given to non-elder males as if given to non-elder females!

Testimony in Worship

Services Our denomination has permitted women missionaries to speak from behind the pulpit during Sunday worship services in order to tell of what they have experienced in the field and learned of the Lord via such experiences. Does this constitute "teaching men" or "exercising authority"? It would seem that such activity could verge into preaching on virtually anyone's definition of the term. It does not follow, however, from this fact that women could not so speak. It does follow that they and elders should exercise care that there be no confusion or overstepping of biblical bounds at this point. There might conceivably be situations in which a given audience would be unable to make the required distinction between praise/testimony which is legitimate for all congregational members and preaching. In such a case wisdom might dictate that the woman not speak. It would be important in such a case that the difference between what is lawful and what is expedient be clear so that the dignity of our women members not be inadvertently undercut.

Missionary Service

The Synod has, to date, heartily approved the commissioning of women to take the gospel abroad as missionaries. Their specific goal is to spread the Word and to help build churches. The work of these women has been viewed as distinct from that of those men who preach, organize, discipline, and administer sacraments on the field. It would appear that this is another case in which it would be possible to confuse proper boundaries. Women serving as missionaries must be sensitive not to usurp the role of elder. They are free, however, to act as members of the general office who share the Lord's command to take the gospel to all the nations. Women are therefore appropriate missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ.

Church Boards

A major problem facing those who ask concerning the place of women on the boards of the agencies of Synod is the vague definition of the boards. As they presently stand they have no ecclesiastical disciplinary power whatsoever and labor under the direction of Synod. Members of the agencies who require discipline are dealt with by appropriate elders (the session of their local church in the case of non-elders and presbytery in the case of elders). It is hard, on this basis, to see how women's participation on boards could affect the authority of the elders. Further, we have or have had non-elder men serving on the boards as well as men who have no formal connection with the RPCES whatsoever. If non-elder men and non-elder, non-RPCES men can serve, on what basis can non-elder RPCES women be refused membership on the boards? A secondary problem arises with respect to the boards of the church: do they in fact undertake decisions which ought to be the province of elders? It could be argued that the directing of the missionary outreach of the church ought to be the work of the elders. This issue must be discussed seriously. The decision, however, must not be weighed in terms of a men/ women division. The proper division would be elder/non-elder.

Youth Groups

Here, as with the boards of the church and the missionary issue, there has been an historical tendency to pose the question in terms of sex. It would seem once again that, while wisdom might dictate that in a given case there would be so much confusion that a woman should not be appointed, or while it might be concluded that a given person would tend to usurp the role of an elder, it would presume an unbiblical division of the general office to consider the sex of the youth leader a principal bar to her appointment. If ecclesiastical authority is involved, the elder/non-elder distinction must be the axis of debate.

Informal Bible Studies

Two questions arise with regard to informal Bible studies and women. The more simple is that of participation. Clearly women may participate in such activities, and, in the light of our previous studies, it can hardly be doubted that they may participate vocally. A further question arises with respect to their taking turns leading such activities (occasionally or regularly) if men are present. Our basic principle that the church has only two classes with respect to ecclesiastical authority helps relieve the debate here. A "woman" may lead if a "man" may lead; a woman may not lead if only elders may lead. On the side of cautious wisdom it ought to be asked whether such a Bible study has begun to substitute itself for the proper function of the church or whether the non-elder leader (of either sex) has in fact begun to function as an elder in structuring the faith of the flock. If either is the case a problem has arisen which must be confronted, but not along sex lines.

Formal Bible Study

It is difficult to specify what would be "formal Bible study." Essentially, we are talking of the official teaching times of the church. This seems manifestly covered by 1 Timothy 2:11 and 12. Such times of teaching belong to the elders.

Sunday School

Among the most difficult problems of definition with regard to authority is that of Sunday school. Is it formal instruction or is it not? Who should teach: elders, deacons, men, anyone? It seems to us that the primary issues are but twofold. If the Sunday school time is a primary teaching time of the church, the elders (who are to be apt to teach) ought to teach the adult classes. This is not basically a sex-role matter but an elder-role matter. If, as is often the case, the Sunday school teachers are conceived as being under the direction of the elders, but somehow nonetheless quite authoritative, it would seem that more definition is necessary. If they are clearly under the elders, then, in principle, any non-elder could be appointed to teach; if they are clearly authoritative, only elders should teach. If there is uncertainty as to the nature of "Sunday school," it might be wise to avoid further confusion and not to appoint women to teach adult men until matters are further clarified in the minds of the congregation. The question of the appointment of women to teach men in Sunday school is thus one of the definition of the nature of Sunday school rather than one of the role of women.

Conclusions Regarding Applications

As drawn out above, the basic principles to be observed with respect to the role of women in the church are (1) that the work of an elder is restricted to men, and (2) that the Scripture knows only two specific classes with respect to ecclesiastical authority, elders and non-elders. We have examined the outworking of these principles with respect to specific activities of the church. The committee cannot define all potential situations and must not try to provide detailed regulation for situations as yet unseen. We do believe that these guidelines provide the church with the basic information which it sought as it constituted this committee.

A Note on the Service of the General Office

The center of focus in this report has been the subordination of women. The more positive side of the service of women has not been developed at any length. This lack constitutes the greatest deficiency of this already-too-long report. Our conclusions regarding the status of all believers in the general office has implications for the activities of non-elders in the congregation. The Scriptures (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, etc..) make it clear that each believers has a gift or gifts for the upbuilding of the assembly. The Lord's giving of gifts calls his people to exercise them and to make opportunities for others to exercise their gifts. Non-elders, whichever their sex, have gifts which the Lord of the church wishes to have used for his people. Historically the gifts of women have often been more neglected than those of men. The church must be careful to correct this tragic waste of God's blessings. It would be a hollow outcome of a report such as this one if women were permitted to take their place alongside men as non-elders within the assembly but then left sitting alongside the men with neither having anything to do. The contribution of non-elders to the life of the church must be carefully garnered!


On the basis of the preceding exegetical and applied studies, the committee recommends that Synod consider and affirm the following statements in sequence and take the actions recommended below. Members of Synod should note the following two facts:

(1) The committee is not asking members of Synod to approve the details of the lengthy exegetical portion of the report. They are asked only to affirm the six statements to follow and to take action on two specific motions.

(2) Your committee itself is not unanimous with regard to the exegetical details of the report. It has voted to endorse the affirmation and the two motions and to present them to Synod for action.


We affirm

(a) that God has created mankind, men and women, in his own image and as equals in salvation: justification, sanctification, and glorification (Genesis 1:26,27; Genesis 2:18ff; Galatians 3:28).

(b) that God has given gifts to both men and women and that these gifts are for the building up of his church rather than for their recipients alone (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Peter 4:10,11).

(c) that God has not called women to the authoritative teaching and ruling office (elder) in the church (1 Timothy 2:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35).

(d) that in our power-structure oriented world those entrusted with authority must attend carefully to the Scripture's commands that none should "think more highly of himself than he ought" (Romans 12:3) and that "whoever would be first among you must be your slave" (Matthew 20:26-28).

(e) that elders must take special care to see that all members of the one body of Christ both men and women are encouraged and enabled to make Scriptural use of all those gifts which have been granted them by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-11; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

(f) that God has called out some women full of the Holy Spirit to exercise the ecclesiastical office of deacon (1 Timothy 3:11; Romans 16: 1).

On the basis of its study the committee recommends that women be permitted the office of deacon within the local church and that they should enjoy the same privileges, ordination, and installation that the men deacons have traditionally received. Further, the committee recommends that the position of elder, both teaching and ruling, be limited to men of good report as specified by the Bible. The tasks of women deacons and the respect granted to them would be identical to the tasks and respect assigned by the local church to men deacons.

On the matter of women participation on the boards of denominational agencies it is the committee's recommendation that the agencies be permitted fully participating women members if they modify their by-laws accordingly.

Since a Board of Trustees acts with authority only when it is in session (no additional rights obtain to the individual board member out of session) and since the board is under the oversight of the Synod, which is a body of ruling and teaching elders, the committee does not feel board participation by women would give individual women authority over men.


Your committee recommends that the Synod pass the following motions:

(a) that women be permitted the office of deacon within the local church and that they enjoy the same privileges, ordination, and installation that the men deacons have traditionally received and that the Form of Government be appropriately changed. (Specific alterations of the FOG such as those suggested by the Study Committee on the Role of Deacons [see these Minutes, pp. 58-63] would achieve the changes proposed above).

(b) that the agencies be permitted to have women as members of their boards if they modify their by-laws accordingly.

Respectfully submitted,
James B. Hurley, Chairman
John Pickett
Gordon D. Shaw
Stephen Smallman
John M. L. Young
Hermann Mischke (dissenting)

The introductory and exegetical portions of the text of this report (less material from Dr. Knight) are extended quotations from previously written material, for which copyrights have been applied.


Affirmations (a) to (e) were approved.

With regard to affirmation (f) and recommendation (a), it was moved, seconded and passed to recommit and request that the study committee on the Role of Women in the Church be continued, and enlarged by including more of those with divergent viewpoints; that the minority report be written and submitted to the committee for study; and that the committee clarify what is meant by the ordination of elders and deacons.

The orders of the day having been extended to 5:00 p.m., it was voted to recess until 9:30 p.m. to consider recommendation (b) of the committee's report.

Dr. J. Barton Payne led in the closing prayer at 5:05 p.m.

At 9:30 p.m., Moderator Auffarth called the meeting to order and the Rev. Frank Smick was asked to lead in prayer.

By motion the orders of the day were set for recess at 10:30 p.m.

ACTION (continued)

After lengthy discussion on recommendation (b), the motion was put to a vote and lost by show of hands, 65-67.

The following motions were made and approved on Wednesday morning but are reported here for convenience:

1. That Synod instruct the Role of Women Committee to send a bibliography and additional materials, including a minority report, to presbyteries for their study by December 31, 1976.

2. That presbyteries study the current report and additional materials and report their comments and finding regarding both the original report and the additional materials to the committee by March 1, 1977.

155th GS MINUTES, MAY 20, 1977, pp. 73-111


Dr. James B. Hurley presented the majority report (Hurley, Jones, Pickett, Shaw, Young), the first minority report was given by Rev. George Miladin and Harold Mare (Mare, Miladin, Wallis), and a second minority report by Rev. Hermann Mischke.

Fathers and Brethren: The 154th General Synod directed the Study Committee on the Role of Women to prepare written minority opinion(s), a bibliography, and materials further clarifying the meaning of ordination of elders and deacons. These materials were to be prepared and circulated to the presbyteries by December 31, 1976. Your committee prepared and circulated these materials as directed. The presbyteries were directed to respond to both the report to the 154th Synod and the supplementary materials by March 1, 1977. Less than half of the presbyteries did so. Their findings expressed a variety of opinions. For these the committee is grateful. The presbytery reports did not offer materials which need to be added to the report of the committee.

The written report of the Committee to the synod includes a supplement to the majority report of last year (dealing with the subject of ordination and including an important correction to the report of last year) and two minority reports. Commissioners are urged to read them carefully.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Hurley
David Jones
Harold Mare
George Miladin
Hermann Mischke
John Pickett
Gordon Shaw
Wilber Wallis
John M. L. Young



During the debate at the 154th General Synod, the members of Synod expressed repeatedly their concern over the precise nature and implications of ecclesiastical office and ordination. In particular it was frequently asked whether the ordination of women to the office of deacon would not place them alongside men as having authority over the church of Christ, thereby violating I Timothy 2:12. The committee report expressed the view that that which was prohibited to women in I Timothy was binding teaching (disciplinary) ecclesiastical authority (i.e. the eldership). It observed that Presbyterian churches have "seen one of the distinctive elements of the elder's role as distinguished from that of the deacon to be the possession of ecclesiastically binding authority. The essence of the deacon's role is defined by the name which the office bears, diakonos (minister/servant). If this distinction is maintained there need be no question of setting women in authority over men by ordaining them as deacons." (Minutes, 154th General Synod, pp. 102-103). The Synod partially concurred with this definition, affirming that the office of deacon "is characterized by service and is distinct from the teaching-ruling office, to the oversight of which it is subject." (Minutes 1976, p. 62; sent to presbyteries, p. 64).

During the debate at Synod a number of men expressed their concern that, although the office of deacon is not intrinsically one of ecclesiastically binding authority, it does involve some sort of "authority" and "formal ordination." The question was asked whether such authority and in particular such ordination would not constitute a violation of 1 Timothy 2:12 if given to women. Other presbyters noted that our denomination does currently have women deacons, but that they are not ordained. It was felt by many that such a solution was an effective one. In view of the uncertainty expressed by many, the Synod asked the committee to clarify the meaning of ordination of elders and deacons. Your committee met this fall and explored these questions in the light of Scripture. The conclusions reached by the committee at that time concur substantially with some, though by no means all, of those reached by a Committee of the Christian Reformed Church in 1973. This report has been included in the communications offered to presbyters and should be read prior to reading this discussion of supplementary materials.

Historical Confusion Concerning the Meaning of "Ordination"

Within the Christian church, the concept of ordination has undergone various shifts of meaning. Within Roman and High Anglican polities, the term connotes the investing of an individual with certain powers and qualifications communicated successively from generation to generation by apostolic succession. Within other Protestant polities its meaning is more diverse, ranging from views close to that of Rome to views which see ordination as no more than the ecclesiastical consummation of democratic election procedures. One member of this committee surveyed a variety of RPCES members (students, faculty) at Covenant College, asking them, "What is ordination?" Those surveyed answered, in almost equal proportions, in terms of either the ceremony, the laying on of hands during the ceremony, or a more abstract concept of appointment to office. When the questioner inquired concerning the significance of the laying on of hands the respondents showed real confusion regarding its function. Some thought in virtually Roman terms, others saw it as a graphic demonstration of solidarity. When asked what might be meant by the question, "Are you ordained?", all responded that it meant, "Are you a pastor/minister?". Questioned further, all noted that ordination is also appropriate for deacons and elders and that their initial response represented a confusion. Some wished to extend ordination further to include missionaries and other representatives of the church. The results of this quick survey demonstrate the necessity of further examination of the concept of ordination and help to explain the potential expressiveness of the concept of "ordaining" women deacons. It should be clear that many would understand such "ordination of women" as the establishment of women as pastors. As a denomination the RPCES is committed to the Scriptures as the rule of faith and practice. It is therefore incumbent upon us to examine the biblical concept of ordination and then to consider how best to communicate this the conclusions of the CRC paper on office and ordination, and develop other materials of its own. Presbyters are urged to examine the CRC paper itself and to test all conclusions by examination of the biblical texts appealed to. Presbyters should not be satisfied with this document or with the CRC paper; they must search the Scriptures.

Biblical Teaching on Ordination

The Term "Ordination"

A significant problem arises as soon as one begins to study "ordination" in the Greek Testament; although the concept is generally present, there is no single technical term corresponding to our English term "ordination." This coupled with the fact that the KJV uses "ordain" for a variety of Greek words has had serious consequences in our present situation, for the student of the English Bible is given mistaken impression that it is a technical term. The CRC report comments: "When one tries to make a word study of the word ordain in our English translations of the Bible, he is bound to be disappointed. To be sure, the word ordain is used in our English Bible versions, particularly in the King James Version. But there is no evidence that this word in the King James Bible is meant to be an exact translation of a Hebrew or Greek word designating precisely what we today commonly understand by ordination.'

"As far as the Old Testament is concerned, the word ordain occurs 15 times in the King James Version. Five of these occurrences have to do with appointing a man to some kind of specific task; these five instances, however, are translations of four different Hebrew words. In the American Standard Version three of these five passages are rendered appoint rather than ordain. The Revised Standard Version has used the word establish in one of the two remaining passages where the word ordain is used in the King James Version.

"The situation is similar in the New Testament. The word ordain occurs 20 times in the King James Version of the New Testament. Eight of these occurrences have to do with ecclesiastical functionaries, but these eight are translations of five different Greek words. Two of these Greek words are rendered appoint by the King James translators in other places. In the case of seven of the above-named eight passages, the words in question have been rendered appoint by both the American Standard Version and the Revised Standard Version; the case of the eighth of these passages, the word in question is translated with become in both versions.

"It seems clear, therefore, that the word ordain in the King James Version does not translate either a single term or a group of terms which convey precisely what we today commonly understand by ordination. Rather, the word ordain in the King James seems to be a translation for words which mean to `appoint' or `to put in charge."' (Acts of Synod 1973, Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church [Grand Rapids, 19731, [Hereafter: Acts 1973], p. 638).

After surveying the Old Testament and New Testament words rendered "ordain," the report concludes:

"Summing up what we have learned so far, we have seen that the New Testament uses several words to express the idea of "appointing," "putting in charge," "selecting for a certain task." The way in which these words are used, however, does not indicate whether the congregations and churches described in the New Testament had anything comparable to our ceremony of ordination. We do read, to be sure, of a laying on of hands in connection with the appointment of the seven in Acts 6, but we have no precise details about this ceremony, and nowhere in the New Testament are' we told that whenever people were appointed for a certain task in the church there always had to be such a ceremony" (Acts 1973, p. 640).

This conclusion is significant for it forces us to examine Scripture at a deeper level than the term "ordain." We must pursue the substance of the texts in view to discern the biblical teaching. In particular it is well to follow the CRC example and to examine those situations in which there were ceremonies.

Two kinds of ceremony are essential for such an examination: anointing and laying on of hands.

Ceremonies Accompanying Appointments (Ordinations)

Anointing: The studies of the CRC regarding anointing produce the following salient points: 1. Anointing was considered indispensable for certain tasks; 2. One was anointed for a specific task, not for any and all tasks; 3. The impression is left that the anointing conferred something upon the anointed which he did not have before; 4. Citing Isaiah 61:1 and Psalm 105: 15, it was noted, "this non-literal use of the word (mashach/anointed one) strongly suggests that in the minds of the ancient writers the reality symbolized by the act of anointing was far more important than the symbol itself' (pp. 640,641). The report goes on to discuss the difference between the Roman Catholic and Protestant interpretation of the current relevance of these data. It is crucial that those who study New Testament office make a clear distinction between the Old Testament priest and the New Testament elder/pastor with respect to both function and ceremony. To fail to do so is to open the way to the Roman Catholic view of the Lord's supper as repeated sacrifice rather than memorial sacrament. The report develops its point as follows:

"The Scriptural data with respect to anointing have been interpreted and applied in two different ways within the Christian community, a) One group of Christians sees in this material the basis for a setting aside of their clergy by an act of anointing which invests them with powers and qualifications not granted to others (see The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, VII, 82ff.). b) Another group of Christians finds the Old Testament rite of anointing in connection with appointment to office to be pointing specifically to Jesus Christ. This group of Christians observes that in the New Testament only Christ is referred to as the Anointed One. Nowhere do we read in the New Testament that apostles, evangelists, elders, deacons, or others were anointed for their specific "offices." On the contrary, all believers are said to have been anointed (1 John 2:20,27; also 2 Corinthians 1:21, which should probably be understood as referring to a general anointing of believers rather than as an anointing of apostles only). For this general anointing of believers the Old Testament paved the way. The close association between anointing and the reception of the Holy Spirit is seen repeatedly in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 10:1,9; 16:13; Isaiah 61:1; Zechariah 4:1-14, esp. v. 6). The Old Testament indicates that in the last days there will be an outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28ff., Acts 2:16ff). It is also said that in the latter time consecration to the Lord will be most comprehensive-even to the bells on the horses (Zechariah 14:20).

"We opt for the second of these two interpretations of the biblical material on anointing. As far as specific office is concerned, Jesus Christ is now The Anointed One, The Messiah, The Christ-our chief Prophet, our only High Priest, and our eternal King (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 31). All believers are now anointed by the Holy Spirit who has been given to them (Acts 2:38, 10:47; Romans 8:9,11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 John 2:20). The New Testament, however, does not instruct the church to anoint those who have been appointed to special tasks or `office' within the Christian community" (Acts 1973, pp. 641,642).

Certain questions will linger in the minds of those considering the relation between anointing and ordination. Certain similarities exist which set anointed figures parallel to "ordained" ones (i.e. special offices): both are set aside to a particular task, both perform public functions, both have a qualified mediatorial role (sharper in the case of the elder than the deacon). How are these to be interpreted? A study of the practice of laying on hands helps us to understand these similarities.

Laying on of Hands: In the Old Testament, the laying on of hands is a technical term and can be closely studied. Of the three basic Hebrew words used to describe the practice, samak is the most relevant for our purposes as it is used in situations in which a person is appointed to an office. Having examined the use of the term In connection with sacrifice and the scapegoat (Ex. 29:10; Lev. 1:4; 4:4; 16:21), the appointment of the Levites In the place of the firstborn (Num. 8: l0ff.), and the appointment of Joshua as Moses's representative and successor (Num. 27:15ff), the CRC report concludes:

"Summing up our study of the Old Testament words used to describe this ceremony, particularly the word samak, we conclude that the laying on of hands in Old Testament times was usually a public rite. It was to designate a representative, a substitute, or a successor.

"We now go on to look at New Testament Instances of the laying on of hands. We find that In the New Testament the ceremony of the laying on of hands is used In a way analogous to the Old Testament ceremony In the samak passages: namely, as designating representation, substitution, or succession" (Acts 1973, p. 643).

This conclusion helps us to identify with more precision those aspects of the role of the anointed priest which were parallel to those of our ordained special officers. The public representative function of the one upon whom hands have been laid is the essential common feature. The laying on of hands designates its subject as a formal representative of those performing the act. Presbyterians have held that congregational election is, by biblical example and providential supervision, an external sign of a person's calling by God to be an elder or deacon. Appointment to office carries with it authority to exercise an office which In the case of elders Involves binding teaching/ disciplinary authority and In the case of deacons Involves the authority to act as ministers of mercy on behalf of the Church of the Lord Jesus.

If we synthesize somewhat the discussions above, we conclude that the Old Testament anointing priests is not a practice to be emulated by New Testament believers. The New Testament simply does not Instruct the church to anoint men for office; the biblical theology of the priesthood helps us to understand why. The other Old Testament Induction ceremony, the laying on of hands applied to the Levites and others, is of continuing relevance to the church for it is expressly practiced by the New Testament church. This laying on of hands Involves (1) the appointment of a person to a representative office and (2) authorization to perform such acts as may be appropriate to that office. Because this report is concerned with the ordination of women to the decorate, it is especially appropriate that we examine somewhat the New Testament passages which deal with "ordination." We will turn to these and draw both from our own exegesis and that of the CRC. Presbyters will note that this report is somewhat selective In its adoption of conclusions drawn by the CRC report. This selectivity stems from two basis facts: some conclusions are specifically designed to deal with the central topic of that report, the role of the layworker In evangelism, and some conclusions seem to us questionable. Because it is not the purpose of this report to critically review the report of the CRC and because that report is available to presbyters we will offer no extended criticism of it.

Of particular importance to our task is the selection of the seven deacons of Acts 6. These men were selected to undertake service (ministry/diakonia) of a particular sort. The apostles could no longer supervise the distribution of the communal food supplies and asked that the congregations select men to perform this diakonia/service (which must Indeed have been a chore for there were by now thousands among the congregations!). The qualifications of the men were simple but high: they had to be men of good repute, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. These men selected by the congregations were presented to the apostles, who then prayed and laid hands on them (v. 6, Interpreting "they prayed and laid hands on them" as a reference to the apostles rather than to the congregation). Here we see a public "ordination" ceremony authorizing certain men to perform a given task. The task is not specifically a ruling task In the sense of exercising a conscience binding authority (as do elders) but does Involve "ruling over" the distribution of food. The prayer and laying on of hands cannot be construed as having equipped the men with gifts of wisdom or with the Spirit as these were prerequisites for their appointment; the "ordination" (note that the word is not actually used) (1) did announce the church's conviction that God had called these men to certain responsibility within the body, (2) did set the men apart to their task and publicly "authorize" them to perform it, and (3) was performed (apparently) by appropriate representatives of the church. It may be noted parenthetically that In 1 Timothy 4:14 the presbytery constitutes the appropriate body for the "ordaining" of Timothy.

A similar setting apart of called and gifted men is to be seen In Acts 13. Verses 1-3 Indicate that the Spirit directed that Paul and Barnabas be "set apart for the work to which I (the Holy Spirit) have called them." The men In view (Saul and Barnabas) are prophets and teachers, apparently already elders and certainly members of the group which, In v. 3, "ordains" them by prayer and the laying on of hands. It is well to ask what exactly was being done to Saul and Barnabas. Were they being ordained? To what office? Were they being commissioned? To what task? We would submit that this cannot be "ordination" to the office of deacon or to the office of an elder. It is rather "ordination" or "setting apart" of gifted men to a public role In which they will represent the church according to the gifting and calling of the Holy Spirit. Their "ordination" carried with it authority to perform their appointed task. Saul and Barnabas, at the command of the Spirit, were "ordained" as missionaries.

In the text above the word "ordained" has been placed In quotation marks to Indicate that it is not being used In our usual contemporary sense. This passage calls to our attention the particular connotation which "ordination" has come to have In the church. It is a term which we tend to use with regard primarily to the setting apart of teaching elders (Are you ordained?), secondarily with respect to ruling elders, and only In a tertiary sense with regard to deacons. In addition we tend to identify it so closely with the activity of the laying on of hands what it seems Inappropriate to lay hands on anyone apart from the context of the "ordination" of special officers. In this passage we have an explicit and virtually unchangeable example of prayer and the laying on of hands as a non-special office "ordination" and we are forced to realize that the distinctive aspect of the ordination of an officer is NOT the laying on of hands but the task, calling, or office to which the Ind.- visual ordained is set apart, not the action by which, but the calling to which the individual is set aside.

This observation helps us to understand why the questions asked of RPCES elders, deacons, missionaries, church agency board members, and trustees are virtually identical in form (cf. FOG, V, 3, (1)-(9), especially (8), (9), pp. 29-31 and V, 8, a, pp. 44,45). The extent to which the Form of Government perceives the distinctives of ordination as related to the office rather than the form of service or questions asked is further indicated by the sections V, 5, r and V, 9, d, concerning the reception of newly ordained officers. Although pastors, ruling elders, deacons, and trustees answer virtually the same questions (7 of 8 are identical) and, in the case of the special officers, have hands laid upon them, they are to be differently received after the ceremony. Pastors are welcomed by members of presbytery with the words, "We give you the right hand of fellowship to take part in this ministry with us." Elders receive the pastor with the words, "As elders we welcome you as a minister to the fellowship of this presbytery." An elder, after ordination, is received by fellow elders with the words, "We give you the right hand of fellowship to take part in this office with us." A deacon, after ordination, is welcomed by fellow deacons with the words, "We give you the right hand of fellowship to take part in this ministry with us." It is clear that the special offices are not distinguished by form of ordination, but are distinguished according to task.

The crucial difference then between the ordination of an elder and that of a deacon is not the form of the questions posed them but rather the differences to which they are set apart. The setting apart of Saul and Barnabas at Antioch was not a special-office ordination, but the appointment of those men to represent the church as missionaries of the Gospel. It entailed the obligation and authority to perform that task.

Our confusion regarding the concept of "ordination" would be greatly reduced if we were able to discard the word "ordain" with ac its many overtones and connotations and return to the actual biblical language. We would then talk of setting apart, appointing or electing persons to this or that task, calling, office. We would also draw much less emotional response if we talked of the biblical example of "setting apart' Saul as a missionary instead of "ordaining" him. In a similar vein there could be a less emotional response to "laying hands on a woman," or "ordaining a woman," which phrases do not necessarily mean more than appointing them to function as missionaries but are interpreted by most to mean making women pastors. The discarding of the term "ordain" seems unlikely in view of its long history and its (perhaps unjustified) place in the KJV. A second option which seems incumbent upon those who would faithfully reflect the biblical language and concepts involves freeing the term "ordain." from its present restricted use, beginning to use "appoint" and "set apart" as well as "ordain," and educating our people as to the biblical teaching regarding ordination/setting apart. These steps seem appropriate regardless of one's view of the propriety of setting women apart as deacons.

Observations from Presbyterian Law and the RPCES FOG [i.e., "Form of Government"]

Presbyterian history shows that the exact nature of valid ordination has been debated. A. J. Hodge's volume What Is Presbyterian Law provides evidence that the church has recognized that prayer and the laying on of hands are appropriate, but that the laying on of hands is not essential to ordination (Hodge, A.J., What Is Presbyterian Law, 1907, p. 309). The stress on the nonessential nature of laying on of hands seems to stem from the Reformation conflict with Rome over the importance of external observations. Charles Hodge, in his volume on Church Polity, provides further information on this matter. Regarding the significance of laying on of hands he remarks:

"The Committee of Bills and Overtures reported an overture from the Presbytery of South Alabama on the subject of ordaining elders and deacons with the imposition of hands. The committee recommended that it be left up to the discretion of each Church session to determine the mode of ordination in this respect.

"Under the old dispensation and in the Apostolic Church, the imposition of hands was used on all solemn occasions to signify the idea of communication. It is a fitting and becoming ceremony whenever the rights and privileges of a sacred office are conferred; but there is evidently no necessity or peculiar importance to be attached to it. There would seem to be something of the leaven of the Popish doctrine of the communication of a mysterious influence, producing the indelible impress of orders, still lurking in the minds of some of our brethren. If grace, in the sense of divine influence, was given by the laying on of hands, then indeed, it would be a serious question when that ceremony should be used. But if grace, in such connection, means what it often means in Scripture, and in the language of the English Reformers, office, considered as a gift; then it is obviously a matter of indifference, whether those in authority express their purpose of conferring a certain office by words or signs, or by both."

"Turrettin remarks, that in reference to ordination and the appointment of church officers, we must distinguish between `essential, and accidentals.' To make forms essential is the essence of formalistic ritualism, and utterly subversive of God's law, and of the best interests of the State and of the Church. What is marriage but the covenant between one man and one woman to live together as man and wife, according to God's ordinance? Wherever this covenant is made, there, in the sight of God, and in fero conscientue, is marriage. Different States have enacted different laws prescribing the forms or circumstances which should attend this contract and the modes in which it shall be attested; and it is the duty of all living under such laws to conform to them. But suppose that from ignorance or recklessness any of them are neglected, is the contract null and void? To answer in the affirmative is to trample the law of God under foot. For a long time the laws of England required that all marriages should be solemnized in church by an episcopally ordained minister, and within canonical hours. While these laws were in force, it was the duty of all Englishmen to obey them. But suppose any man was married by a Presbyterian minister, after twelve o'clock, noon, would his marriage in the sight of God be void, and would it be pronounced void by the civil courts, without doing violence to the divine law? In like manner, ordination is the declaration of the judgment of the Church, through its appointed agents, that a certain man is called to the ministry. The Church directs that this judgment shall be signified in a certain way, and with certain prescribed solemnities, such as laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Suppose any of these prescribed formalities are neglected; suppose the presbytery omit the laying on of hands, (as we have known very recently to be done,) is the ordination void? No man but a Papist or Puseyite would answer, Yes. In the case of a ruling elder, the choice of the church, and the consent of the person chosen, is all that is essential. The rest is ceremonial. Prescribed forms should be observed; the neglect of them should be censured. But to make them essential is, in our view, to abandon the fundamental principle of Protestantism and of common sense. It would invalidate the acts of half the sessions in the country." (Hodge, Charles, Church Polity, pp. 295, 297).

This historical material should help us maintain a proper view of ordination and free us from emotional responses to laying on of hands which would see it as the sacred essential of "ordination."

Relevance to Synod's Mandate to the Committee

The Synod's mandate to the committee required that the meaning of ordination of elders and deacons be clarified. The observations made in the above sections of this paper provide substantial material to meet Synod's request. "Ordination," we have seen, is really not a technical term in Scripture. The ceremony of prayer and laying on of hands indicates the setting apart or appointing of an individual to an office for which the Spirit has gifted and to which the Spirit has called him. This setting apart should be accomplished through prayer and the laying on of hands, but may be accomplished through other means such as election and acceptance alone. Such setting apart is not restricted in the biblical text to the special offices. That which distinguishes the "ordination" or setting apart of elders, deacons, and missionaries from one another is not the fact that individuals so se apart are called, gifted, selected, prayed over, or have hands laid on them; that which distinguishes them is the task or office to which the individuals are ordained. This observation forces us to move behind the formalities of "ordination" if we are to answer the basic question which Synod was approaching in its mandate to the committee, the setting apart of women as deacons.

The Distinction Between the Special Offices

As noted above, the exegetical paper submitted by this committee to Synod in May, 1976 and the Synod itself in its action on the report of the Study Committee on the Role of Deacons have sought to clarify the distinction between the special offices of deacon and elder. The essence of this distinction appears to be that the elder is involved in ruling, guarding, directing, shepherding tasks while the deacon is involved in tasks of service. Numerous discussions of these offices make this clear. What implications do these distinctions have for the ordination of women as deacons?

Authority and Ruling Authority

Many who object to the "ordination" of women feel that "ordination" would place them in authority over men. As we have seen above, "ordination" or setting apart does not necessarily confer authority to rule over others. It does, however, confer authority to represent the church and to perform a given task. The deacon's authority to go in the name of the church with alms for the poor or to minister in the church's name to those in prison is indeed authority, but such authority is not authority to rule over others. The situation becomes slightly more complex in the case of, let us say, authority to direct the ministrations of others, for instance the taking of food to those who are sick or to homes in which the mother is ill or has had a baby. Such authority is genuine authority, but is in no way an elder's ruling authority; it is a serving authority which is appropriate to deacons.

Confusion of the Eldership and the Decorate as "Special Offices"

The fact that the "special offices" are grouped together has led to confusion of their distinctions. The term "special office" is used to indicate the two perpetual offices as distinguished from the "general office" of believers. This is, of course, not biblical language but does serve well to call attention to their distinctive nature. Many, however, who are not conversant with the particulars of the offices tend to misunderstand why these two public, perpetual offices are grouped together and set apart. They tend to blur the distinctions and assume that, for instance, the decorate possesses ruling authority in lesser degree or that deacons are some sort of junior elder. This particular problem is aggravated by the fact that many independent and baptist churches use the terms elder and deacon synonymously or reserve the term elder for the pastor and have "deacons" or even "trustees" who function as do the elders of the Scripture. We must not allow the cultural and historical confusions outlined in the paragraphs above to distort our understanding of the distinctives of the biblical offices. God has ordained that there be two perpetual public offices within the church. Despite confusions it is clear that this fact does not at all require that those offices both share the rule of His flock.

Concerning the Task of Deacons

The task of those who would decide whether women may be set apart as deacons pivots upon two considerations: 1. whether the prohibitions of 1 Timothy 2, forbidding that women should teach or exercise authority over men, apply to both offices or whether they have in view the role of the elder rather than that of the deacon, and 2. whether there are evidences of a female decorate in the New Testament.

The first question has been approached in the exegetical studies of the report to Synod, 1976. A few additional observations may, however, be in order. Those who have studied church history are well aware that the role of the elder has proven much easier to define than that of the deacon. The office of the deacon has often fallen into disregard or eclipse while that of the elder or bishop has risen to great prominence. The biblical text itself is much more specific with regard to the office of elder than with that of deacon. A moment's reflection upon the nature of the respective tasks of elders and of deacons may help to explain this fact. The church, in whatever age it may find itself, will have need of shepherds to rule the flock by counsel, teaching, rebuke, and discipline. It will have a similar need to show the love of Christ to the needy. The job with relation to the needy, is however, much more culturally structured. Financial and physical assistance are always to be rendered, but each societal structure generates distinctive needs which must be creatively met through physical and financial assistance. The church no longer has a communal life style and we no longer appoint deacons to function as quartermasters to our thousands. The dole of the widow has changed as Western society has become richer and Social Security has provided some relief for the aged. Christians must continue to care for the aged widow, and the deacon must be active in such work, but the particular form which it will take is different today because of the changed needs of widows. The vague definition of the service of the deacon (diakonos/one who serves) combined with its association with the prominent, well defined ruling task of the elder has contributed both to the general impression that the deacon's office somehow shares the "authority" of the eldership and to general confusion as to its nature.

A closer look at the task of the deacon in the Scripture and in the early , church suggests some directions in which our modern deacons might move to re-establish the visible demonstration of the serving mercy of Christ which is their particular task. While any area of human need is a valid subject of Christian ministry, the early church seems to have focused upon the aged and the prisoners, while the Old Testament focuses upon the sojourner and the fatherless as well as the widow, but pays little attention to the prisoners. The prominence of these groups in their respective time-period reflects the differences between those problems generated when the people of God lived under the theocracy and those generated when they were under Roman society. In American society as a whole there are fewer orphans, sojourners, and destitute widows, but there are still prisoners and certainly there are needy aged of both sexes. Within our cities the situation is different, especially within our ghettos. There poverty is much more pronounced, as is the plight of the fatherless and the widow. The frequent relegation of our deacons to ushering, receiving the offering, and cutting the grass speaks poorly for our creativity and compassion. (Presbyters may wish to consult Document No. 4, by Bingham, on the role of deacons).

Within the early church there were deacons and deaconesses. Specific ordination instructions for both classes exist in the Apostolic Constitutions and other places. Their tasks specifically involved ministries of mercy to the needy. In these tasks they represented the church. Women deacons were especially used in situations in which men would be suspect. Thus women often visited the prisons and dealt with other women. (cf. Bingham, Document No. 4, for further details). Can we appoint women deacons, and if so, can we use them?

The report to Synod, 1976, suggested that the office of deacon does not impinge upon the binding teaching and disciplinary authority of the elder's office. If this is so, and if Paul directs his remarks to the authority of the elders in 1 Timothy 2, then the appointment of women to the office of deacon does not prejudice biblical restrictions upon this office. It is, however, possible that our present vagueness about the special offices and the tendency in some quarters to view the office of the deacon as a stepping-stone to the eldership rather than a valid office might encourage some to see the appointment of women to the decorate as a first step in the direction of appointing women as elders. This danger requires that, if women are set apart as deacons, careful measures be taken to explain the meaning of such action and that it not become a first step to violation of the clear teaching of I Timothy with regard to women elders. Fear of such error, however, must not cause us to fall short of taking appropriate biblical steps any more than fear of sexual sin may cause us to ban marriage or to fail to instruct our children concerning the proper role of sex.

What Tasks Might Women Deacons Have?

In the early church women deacons ministered to prisoners, women, children, and the aged. Ours might well do the same. The women's auxiliaries of most churches are in fact doing tasks which would belong to women deacons. Welcoming newcomers, providing food for brothers in need and families without mothers, encouragement for women who are struggling with their family roles, support of missionaries by food, linens, money, and prayer are all appropriate activities. The role of women missionaries has been a long-standing problem of our mission boards. Are these women preaching the Gospel or simply assisting elders to do so? The Canadian Presbyterian church has established a pattern similar to that of the early church by insisting that its women missionaries be deaconesses with proven service at home. If this denomination chooses to ordain women to the decorate the recognition of the serving gifts of women missionaries through ordination as deacons might be appropriate.

How Would the Women Deacons Relate to the Men Deacons?

It is sometimes felt that if women deacons were established and if they should happen to outnumber the men, then women deacons, by virtue of their greater numbed of votes, would exercise authority over men. This is certainly true. Our previous exegesis and discussion, however, has shown that if churches should choose to have joint deaconess boards, and if they should choose to appoint more female deacons than male, even then the women would not exercise the sort of authority which Paul prohibits in 1 Timothy 2. Their votes would have no relation to binding teaching/disciplinary authority which is in the hands of the elders alone. A simple parallel is to be seen in every congregation in which women may vote on congregational matters and in which the women members outnumber the men. The congregation does not exercise binding teaching/disciplinary authority and thus, as our denomination holds, the vote for women does not violate Paul's command.

This study of the meaning of ordination of elders and deacons has suggested that the subject of ordination is one of considerable confusion and that the biblical teaching concerning ordination/setting apart individuals to tasks is in fact irrelevant to the discussion of women deacons except as a red herring, far the distinctive element of setting apart/ordination is not the act but the office to which the individual is set apart. A decision concerning women deacons must turn upon the Biblical materials such as those presented in the various studies of Galatians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11,14; 1 Timothy 2,3; Romans 16.

Historical evidence submitted in conjunction with this report indicates that women deacons were known in the church until the twelfth century and that they have appeared sporadically from the reformation. Within our sister denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, there are currently ordained deaconesses.

An Important Remark Concerning Phoebe in Romans 16

The report submitted to Synod, 1976 contains one error which requires correction. On P. 104 it was indicated that Paul chase to break gender to identify Phoebe as a deacon. This was seen as evidence far women in the office of deacon. This impression was considered strengthened by the services which Phoebe performed with respect to Paul. The conclusion regarding Paul's breaking gender results from a misreading of Bluer, Arndt and Gingrich an this Paint (cf. Xerox portion submitted with this report as Document No. 6). They show diakonos as the entry-ward. Further dawn, the feminine usage of diakonos is indicated by he d., followed by a series of references. In the writing of the report it was erroneously assumed that he d., stood for he diacone, a feminine form of diakonos. It does not. It stands far he dankness, the noun used with a feminine article. This correction means that the reference to Phoebe is intrinsically ambiguous. Diankonos in Romans 16:1 may mean either deacon or servant. On P. 104 of the Minutes, 1976, paragraph 2, the section from "Because the ward diakonos" to "Paul's choice of wards in 1 Timothy 3:11" (four full sentences) should be deleted and the following substituted:

Exegetes have long debated the exact , meaning of Paul's reference. Is Phoebe a servant of the congregation of Cenchreae, or a deacon? The ward is inherently ambiguous and the debate cannot be, settled by grammatical studies. Same exegetes take note of the functions which she performed in Cenchreae and the formal request which Paul makes soliciting Roman assistance far her and derive from this that Phoebe was a deacon from Cenchreae an a mission to Rome. Others Perceive the Passage as commending a helpful woman who, in Paul's opinion, is worthy of the assistance of the Roman congregation. Each exegete must make-his or her own decision at this Paint. Regardless of the decision achieved here it is important to note that women deacons would have to be identified by the same term as male deacons awing to the use of the masculine farm far bath men and women. This fact may shed light upon Paul's choice of wards in 1 Timothy 3:11.


[1] The committee wishes to acknowledge the Christian generosity of Dr. George W. Knight, III, of Covenant Seminary, who has granted it permission to draw freely from his pamphlet, The New Testament Church.

[2] cf. P.K. Jewett, Man as Male and Female, pp. 86-103).

[3] For a lengthier discussion of this latter passage, see J.B. Hurley, Man and Woman, Chap. 2, pp. 56-57.

[4] Peter's description of the woman as the weaker vessel (asthenesteros keuei) is apparently a physical reference to women's stature rather than a moral or intellectual metaphor.

[5] authentein may be a reference to the judging of the prophets mentioned in I Corinthians 14:29-34, cf. J.B. Hurley, Man and Woman, pp. 71-77 and the discussion below.

[6] Paul employs the singular in the first portion of the sentence, and a plural in the end. The context suggests that he still has "Eve, the prototypical woman," in view from v. 14. His shift to the plural in the latter portion of the verse indicates the basic direction of his thought. Accordingly in our present rendering the singular is neglected and read as a plural.

[7] We do not mean to imply that Paul did not expect these characteristics to mark Christian women. We mean only to note that Paul generally took great care to leave no possible inference of auto soterism. )

[8] Some interpreters consider this 'passage to be enjoining marriage and use the contrast with I Corinthians 7 thereby generated as an argument against the authenticity of I Timothy.


Part I. By Dr. W. Harold Mare
Part II. By Rev. George C. Miladin

Part I. By Dr. W. Harold Mare

It is to be noted that the major question to which the 1977 report on the Role of Women in the Church signed by Dr. James B. Hurley (for the Committee) is addressing itself is clearly set forth on page 78 of that report as follows: "Because this report is concerned with the ordination of women to the diaconate (italics ours), it is especially appropriate that we examine somewhat the New Testament passages which deal with ordination." We believe that the emphasis should rather be on the question of what the New Testament teaches about the position and service of women in the Church.

However, in the light of the emphasis placed on ordination on page 78 of the report, we will first of all address ourselves to the meaning and use ordination in the New Testament. The Greek word used to express this idea, epitithemi, and its cognates, strictly have the meaning of "placing (the hands) upon" in the sense of setting one apart or aside for some specific God-given purpose. In examining this Greek word in three New Testament passages where it carries this kind of emphasis [1], let us suggest the proposition that in its use in this way we can discern more than one kind of ordination. In 1 Timothy 4:14, Paul charges Timothy not to neglect the God-given gift that was given him with the laying on of the hands of the presbuterion (the body of elders) (compare also 2 Timothy 1:6). Certainly this was a special setting aside or ordination to the specific role of being an elder, a special technical kind of ordination to the office of elder in the church.

In Acts 6:6, epitithemi is again used when it is said that the Jerusalem church set the "Seven" deacons before the apostles and that "as they prayed they placed their hands upon them" (i.e., ordained them). the latter clause may well be interpreted to mean that the apostles were the ones who placed their hands on the Seven since the word "apostles" in the text is the nearer antecedent to the verb "they placed." At any rate, this was all done before and under the influence of the apostles, just as the setting aside, or ordaining of Timothy was under the directions and influence of the body of elders, the presbyterion (1 Timothy 4:14). It is to be noted that the apostles and elders functioned together in the role of preaching, ruling, and disciplining in the New Testament section of the Christian church as seen in the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council. In these two passages, 1 Timothy 4:14 and Acts 6:6, we see men set apart, that is, ordained to the special church offices of elder and deacon in the New Testament Church, a church that was growing and developing in its form of church government.

In the third reference, Acts 13:2,3, where epitithemi is used of men being set aside, or ordained, with the laying on of hands it does not so clearly show itself to be the same kind of ordination as is seen in the examples above. Acts 13:2,3 says that the church at Antioch fasted and prayed and, at the command of the Holy Spirit, laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul, setting them apart for their missionary task. There is not indication here that this "setting side" was under the direction and leadership of the elders and/or apostles and unto a New Testament church office, although Acts 13:1 does mention prophets and teachers in the Antioch church.

The New Testament thus indicates in these examples that there was a particular setting apart of men with the laying on of hands to the offices of elder and deacon. Secondly, the New Testament also seems to indicate that there was a more general use of the ceremony for the setting aside of individuals for a task, such as being commissioned to carry out missionary work for the Church. But in no one of three instances examined are there any women indicated as being involved. In 1 Timothy 4:14, it is Timothy who had the hands of the elders laid on him, elders we can argue whose office had come down through the male eldership of the Old Testament (Leviticus 4:15; Numbers 14:24, etc.) and of the synagogues and Sanhedrin of the New Testament (Matthew 21:23). In Acts 6:3-6 it is the command of the apostles that the church find seven males (andras) of the believing company who were to do the work of serving (v. 1, diakonia), and thus they chose seven men. In Acts 13:1-3, there are only men mentioned who were the prophets and teachers and two of these, Barnabas and Saul, were the ones who were set aside, or commissioned by the laying on of hands for the mission work. Men were the ones to be ordained by the laying on of hands to the church offices and men were set aside by the laying on of hands for missionary work.

Our second major focus is on the meaning of 1 Timothy 3:11 concerning which we are setting forth the proposition that this text in no way speaks of Christian women as deacons.

Inasmuch as 1 Timothy 3:1-7 does not make reference to women but only to men, we assume, on the basis of the decision made at last year's synod, that no one of our company would argue that Christian women are to hold the office of elder.

However, although women are mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:11 in the midst of Paul's exhortation to men who are deacons, we would argue that the apostle is not addressing these women as female deacons for the following reasons:

(1) Very little is said to these women (v. 11) that corresponds to what is said to the male deacons (vvs. 8-10, 12-13). The only term used for the women that strictly corresponds to those terms used for the male deacons is semnos, "worthy of respect." It is true that the women here are told to be nephalious, "temperate," a word also used in warning the elders in 1 Timothy 3:2, but no one would argue that because of this word these women are to be identified as female elders.

(2) There is a great deal of instruction given to the male deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13, at least some of which would be expected to be given to the women mentioned in verse 11 if Paul meant to be charging them as women deacons. The male deacons are charged to be leaders who do not indulge in much wine. They are not to be pursuing dishonest gain. They are charged with keeping hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience and are to be first tested and then they can serve as deacons (vv. 8-10). The male deacons are to be husbands of one wife (i.e., not involved in unlawful divorce) and are to rule over their children (Ephesians 6:4) and households well (v. 12). Then in climax, the male deacons are given the challenge that those deacons who have served well will "gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus" (v. 13). None of these things are said to the women mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:11. It is true that the women are told not to be malicious talkers (diabolous) and are to be trustworthy in everything, but these expression do not correspond to the serious things with which the male deacons are charged. One very serious omission in the charge to the women, if the apostle meant to be charging them as deacons, is the lack of mention of their being wives of one husband, a subject Paul counted as being important when charging the elders (1 Timothy 3:2) and male deacons (1 Timothy 3:12). Elsewhere, Paul counts this subject important when he charges the enrolled widow to be the wife of one husband
(1 Timothy 5:9).

(3) The use of hosautos (vvs. 8, 11) also argues against the view that the women mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:11 are to be taken as female deacons. The use of hosautos in v. 8 about the deacons argues that the lives of the deacons are to exhibit godly characteristics like the qualities that are to characterize the elders mentioned in vv. 1-7, and does not argue that the deacons are to be like the elders in all respects or that they are to function in the office of elder. The hosautos then in v. 11 also must mean that the women mentioned there are to exhibit godly characteristics like the deacons or possibly their deacon husbands, as they assist them in the work of the Lord, and it need not mean they are being considered by Paul as having the same office as the male deacons.

The conclusion then to be drawn is that Paul is not addressing the women of 1 Timothy 3:11 as female deacons but as the wives of the deacons mentioned there, charging them to develop a general godly character, that in assisting the deacons or their deacon husbands, they may be a help, not a hindrance to the work of the Lord. Paul may also be suggesting that the women here mentioned are to function as auxiliary helpers to the church, a position which some churches may want to call that of deaconness. It is suggested that any such boards of deaconnesses established by individual churches be under the direction of the board of deacons. Since the ceremony of laying on of hands in ordination has been shown in 1 Timothy 4:14 and Acts 6:6 to be that used in ordaining male elders and deacons and used in Acts 13:1,2 in setting aside men for special Christian work, the teaching in 1 Timothy 3:11 about women being auxiliary helpers to their husbands and deaconnesses of the church gives no warrant to their being set aside for this work by ordination in the laying on of hands.

An example of an auxiliary helper in the church is Phoebe who in Romans 16:1 is called a servant diakonos of the church in Cenchrea. How she was serving we do not know, but we know that the word diakonos can have a general, non-technical meaning in which it can indicate a servant of a king (Matthew 22:13) doing menial service as a slave (doulos, Matthew 22:3) or a servant doing more exalted service for God in ruling a nation (Romans 13:4).

Women auxiliary helpers or deaconnesses in a church might do a number of things similar to those things which women in the New Testament were doing, such as supporting Christian work (example, the women's support of Jesus, Mark 15:40,41; compare the money spent by Mary for the anointing of Jesus, John 12:1-8), serving at the funeral (Mark 16:1), helping the poor and making robes and clothes for them (Acts 9:36-39), opening one's home for prayer meeting (Acts 12:12); having a special ministry of prayer (Acts 16:13,14), having a teaching ministry in the home (Acts 18:26), etc.

Part II. By Rev. George C. Miladin

While acknowledging a wide area of agreement with the majority report, and also affirming my deepest appreciation for Dr. Hurley and his many helpful insights, I cannot agree with one critical point - a pivotal one.

In the section entitled "possible causes of action," it is stated that both sides [of the debate]. . . .were prepared to concede that the Word does not conclusively prohibit nor permit women deacons. I cannot make this concession since I believe that the Word does conclusively prohibit women becoming deacons on the strength of Paul's statement in 1 Timothy 2:11 - "I do not permit a woman to have authority over a man."

The report indeed gives considerable weight to this statement, even according it a pivotal position. However, it concludes that the ordination of women deacons is not incompatible with it. This it does by making a distinction between ruling authority on the one hand and serving authority on the other; the former in the hands of the elders, the latter in the hands of the deacons. Such a distinction in my judgment does not carry the weight to make Paul's statement compatible with ordaining women to the office of deacon. Consider the following: Elders are set apart unto service rather than status (cf. Paul's self-designation in Ephesians 3:7 and Colossians 1:23) with the essence of their rule being that of leading and caring for (cf. Greek of Hebrews 13:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13); it is also true that deacons are set apart as representatives of the congregation with authority to lead in encouraging the congregation to unitedly demonstrate the love of Christ to the needy. In short, the distinction between ruling and serving authority doesn't appear to be wide enough to allow women into the "special office" of serving. A woman in such a position, in my opinion, would be exercising authority over a man, contrary to Paul's injunction.

My opposition to ordaining women deacons does not extend, however, to appointing (ordaining) deaconnesses, providing they be construed as helpers to the deacons, i.e., an auxiliary. My reason for this is as follows: While there is no explicit, unambiguous biblical evidence for women deacons, there is ample explicit biblical evidence of women performing many service functions in Scripture. This explicit evidence joined to the testimony of church history, linked with the ambiguous biblical witness (Romans 16:1, 1 Timothy 3:11) impels me to the mediating view that what Paul most likely had in mind when he wrote in 1 Timothy 3:11, "gunaikoas in the same way are to be women worthy of respect . . . .," is deaconnesses--godly women appointed to the task of serving as an auxiliary (helpers) to the male deacons (cf. Hendriksen's commentary on 1 Timothy).

Thus, as a recommendation for prayerful consideration, I propose that Synod should affirm that women may not be deacons but may be appointed (ordained) deaconnesses in the sense of helpers to the deacons.

[1] Epitithemi is used also in 1 Timothy 5:22 of ordination but the gender of the indirect object is inconclusive. Of course epitithemi is also used in contexts of placing burdens on someone, healing someone, etc.


By Rev. Hermann W. Mischke

This report has been formulated, at the present time, for a twofold reason:

(1) To present a constructive biblical basis for the role of the women in the church in some contrast to the conclusions found in the Majority Report as presented to the 154th General Synod.

(2) To comply with the mandate of the brethren of the 154th General Synod to the committee (see action in Synod minutes of 154th synod, p. 112).

Words such as minority and dissenting are expressions that reflect either vain recalcitrance or substantial resourcefulness. They are words that will animate the mind of the unbiased or imprison the discernment of the prejudiced.

This report is composed and presented with the inherent conviction that its content has significant substance that can augment and even alter presently existing conclusions and practices on the matter at hand. This report is also only viewed as a springboard for much, much deeper and more organized studies--studies that will definitely focus the entire picture of the male-female relationship to its minutest detail. Details that reveal the beauty of divine intimacy and the splendor of divine coefficiency. It is the belief that the church has not ministered to the area of the male-female relationship in any part of the spectrum of that relationship. Attempts have been made in the emphasis of marital relationships but these attempts are usually quickly diluted by the individuation emphasis in church activities. Sunday school has literally burst the family concept to shreds by placing every family member in his own separate category. Much of the word-ministry is on what our duty is as individuals to the Lord in heaven, not to the Lord in and among us. The programs are mainly geared to accelerate worship with formal privacy and not the informality of in-depth contacts. Many of our churches are filled with members whose intimacy extends only to the knowledge of a few details as names and faces and telephone numbers.

The attempt has been made in this report to discuss to some length the meaning and significance of the image of God. This stress on the image of God is used as the basis for the male-female relationship. The male-female relationship in turn is viewed as the indispensable means as the arena of the practical outworking of God's truth. This relationship is further exhibited as a unit of two distinct, yet equally valuable, persons.

Footnotes and bibliographies have been omitted because this report is intended to present the reason for being a biblical view on the role relationship of the sexes.

It is the hope that this report will aid us to arrive at conclusions that come very close to divine intention and a harmony of thought and doctrine in our churches.

The Image of God

The image of God is the fundamental element which determines the nature of man's being, the uniqueness of the personality of man, and the quality of his relationships. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer in his book Death in the City claims that Christians live today in a "post-Christian world." He insists that there is the urgency for the occurrence of a "reformation, revival and constructive revolution." He is not proposing this for the world but rather for the church. Dr. Schaeffer defines reformation to be "restoration of pure doctrine," and revival to be "restoration in the Christian's life." The cause of the "death in the city" is exhibited by his exegesis of Romans 1:21,22. Man's reasoning became vain and his foolish heart was darkened when he ceased to glorify God and relinquished his gratitude toward God. Dr. Schaeffer sums up by saying, "in turning away from God and the truth which He has given, man has thus become foolishly foolish in regard to what man is and what the universe is. He is left with a position in which he cannot live, and he is caught in a multitude of intellectual and personal tensions." These tensions are vividly displayed in the Scriptures:

Christ's interrogative averment, "a blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? will they not both fall into a pit?" shows the tension that results from emphasizing, primarily, accomplishment rather than being. Christ's warning, "beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." admonishes to avoid the tension caused by the pursuit of hoarding things rather than the formation of the personality (Proverbs 22:1).

Christ's parable of the Pharisee and the Publican explicates the tension that is an inevitability of individuation (Isaiah 65:5). It is foolish man's propensity to stress the individual rather than the relationships of individuals.

When man ceases to glorify God and abandons his praise toward Him, the emptiness of man's reasoning and the hollowness of his worship that results is the evidence of a radical recession, if not a total eclipse, of the image of God in man.

The image of God is encountered basically in five different circumstances in the Word of God:

(1) The Blueprint for Man. ". . . Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . ." (Genesis 1:26). This statement confronts man with the only basis for his origin, function and objective as a creature of God. It is the pivot on which every study of every thing in regard to man and the rest of creation is balanced. No one, if he is determined to be correct, draws conclusions about man without a comprehensive consideration of the essence and significance of this divine image.

(2) The Distorted Image. ". . . just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly . . ." (1 Corinthians 15:49). The very fact that Paul declares, "for this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality," indicates that the "image of the earthy" is the bondage of the corrupted image of God in man.

(3) The Totally Degraded Image. ". . .and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures." Here as well as in Psalm 106:20, is the utter foolishness of man as he subjects his reasoning to the consequence of his wayward search for God. But worse yet, it is the most ignominious blasphemy of the entire concept of God.

(4) Immanuel - The True Image. ". . . he who has seen Me has seen the Father. . . " This is Christ's affirmation that He is the IMAGE of God. Paul, very explicitly, echoed that fact twice in his epistles (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). The holy man of God who wrote Hebrews expanded Christ's affirmation in saying, "He is the radiance of His glory and exact representation of His nature." These declarations, among others, result in the general consensus that Christ, being bearer of full humanity, is the unblemished image of God in man.

(5) CHRIST - The Image Pattern. ". . . whom He (God) foreknew, He also predestinated to become conformed to the image of His Son. . . " Conformity to the image of God's Son is the biblical pattern for the divine renewal of fallen man. Regeneration is the restoration of the original constitution of the LIKENESS of God, (Colossians 3:10); the same likeness as exhibited by Christ and as maintained in Adam and Eve prior to the fall.

In each of these five circumstances the issue centers emphatically on the implied significance of the divine image; especially (for all practical purposes) in regard to the function of those who are called the elect of God. Those who are the elect are summoned to undergo the restoration of the image of God as it was once evident in Adam and Eve prior to the fall. According to Colossians 3:10 this restoration is to be viewed with a threefold consciousness:

1. ". . . the new self who is being renewed . . ." The present tense participle declares this renewal to be a moment by moment process (2 Corinthians 4:16).
2. ". . . to a true knowledge. . ." The preposition translated "to" determines true knowledge to be the ultimate objective of the renewal process (1 Corinthians 13:12; Colossians 2:2,3).
3. ". . . according to the image of the One Who created. . ." demonstrates to us the fact that God's image is the irrevocable norm for the renewal process.

Thus, whatever he may be termed, the Spirit-filled, progressive, mature saint views his entire life (Romans 8:28) as a renewal procedure. His excessive yearning is to know Him (Jeremiah 9:23,24; Philippians 3:10). His blessedness is the continuous consciousness of growing in the likeness of God (Philippians 3:14).

In consequence of the preceding emphasis it behooves every believer, at least those with the gift of discernment, to search deeper into the meaning of the "image of God."

The Westminster Confession and Catechisms are too terse for more advanced elucidation on this subject. From them we are mainly informed that knowledge, righteousness, and holiness are conceivable in man to such a degree that they are comparable, in quality (not quantity), to that of God; and that only through God's specific grace. Anyone who diligently studies the creation of man, primarily as given in Genesis 1:26-30, will have to experience the tantalization of this brief description of the complex creature called man. There are some important fundamentals in this creation account. Two protrusive allusions nudge any alert student. The one is the plural pronoun when God refers to Himself, the other is the double emphasis on the norm for man's make-up: image and likeness. The interpretative opinions vary. The plural is seen in three different ways:

1. God reciprocating with the angels (Delitzsch: 1 Kings 22:19-22; Isaiah 6:8; Daniel 4:14; Job 1; Luke 2:9ff; Revelation 4).
2. The communication of the three Persons in the Divinity (Lange: Isaiah 40:13,14; Romans 11:34; John 1:1,2; Isaiah 9:6) and,
3. The plural of sovereign dignity and authority as referring to the fulness of the divine powers and essences which God possesses, (Keil).

Variation also exists in understanding "image" and "likeness." Some say it is synonymy for emphasis (Keil-Delitzsch, Luther), others say there is more than merely stress, e.g. Lange. In spite of this variegation of views we can safely draw some firm conclusions.

1. More than one person is involved in the process of making man.
a. more than one works simultaneously, or
b. more than one works consecutively,
c. more than one aims at a particular achievement,
d. more than one administers attributes unique to themselves.
2. The production of man is based on a mutual contract.
a. necessity for correlative effort,
b. voluntary assumption of status,
c. offering of required properties.
3. The mutual contract of the more than one person exhibits diversity of personal properties.
a. One is not the Other,
b. Each one is unique in Himself,
c. Each functions as a separate Entity.

Thus far we see in the One who created Adam (male and female) 1. multiplicity; 2. harmony; 3. diversity.

4. There is an implicit broaching of the glory of the divine love.
a. reciprocal respect for the Other's dignity,
b. unconditional humility toward One another,
c. absolute mutual trust in each other.
5. Each divine Person has the same creative power.
a. One complements what the other assumed status does not supply, or
b. Simultaneous, consecutive cooperative energy,
c. cause and effect creative activity.
6. There is the anticipation of the finished product in making man.
a. knowledge according to a plan of action,
b. righteousness of the composition,
c. holiness of the completion.
7 Each of the creating Persons is communicative toward the others.
a. inter-Personal omniscience,
b. blending of the wills of each Person,
c. uniformity of purpose.

As tedious as it may seem, it is of utmost importance that, for more expanded and sharper spectrum of the image of God, we saturate, at least, our thinking with the dynamic components of the divine nature. The scripture, after all, was not only given to give us a transcendental theology, but also a communicable theology intrinsic to the divine image radiating from the believer. 2 Peter 1:3,4 says to us,

". . . seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, THROUGH THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature. ."

How can anyone become partaker of the divine nature unless that one ceaselessly appropriates the very essence of those divine promises?

There is an undisputed consensus among reformed covenant-believers that God's image belongs to the central issues of the Scriptures. It is agreed that this image determines not only the fiber, but also the warp and the woof of man's being and consequently his understanding and appreciation of, and relationships with, himself, his Creator, and the rest of creation. Without this divine likeness, man is "chaff, salt without taste."

Do these preceding seven conclusions and implications substantiate themselves within the total framework of the Scripture? They do. By way of the doctrine of the Trinity we believe that by being Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God consists of multiple Persons. The entire doctrine of the covenant of grace demonstrates that their activity is based on a harmonious, mutual contract. Every aspect of the work of bringing the elect into being and to glorification exhibits the diversity of personal properties in each of the divine Persons. The uniqueness of divine love is so emphatically displayed as one Person glorifies the Other by utter respect for, humility toward, and trust in the divine dignity of each of the Persons. God's Word causes us to meet each of the three Persons in the Godhead as equally having the same glorious creative power. Whether it is the Breath of God, the Word of God, or the eternal Father, each is seen as the cause of creation. Because the entire process of creation is pregnant with the anticipation of a completion date with a finished product, the Bible everywhere makes saints aware that all creation is based on truth, righteousness, and holiness. The glorious completeness of the infinite intimacy within the Trinity is strongly maintained by those parts of Scripture that express communication between the three Persons. This is the God of whom the inspired writers said:

"But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end." Psalm 102:27;

"For I, the Lord do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." Malachi 3:6

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." Hebrews 13:8

The immutability of God gives us the certainty that God is the same in our time as He was before the fall of Adam.

Therefore if we view man in God's image it is not sufficient to be satisfied with quoting the appropriate portions of the Westminster Confession and the two Catechisms. As true as the confessional statements are in reference to the three elements of the image this intentional succinctness is basically only the tip of the iceberg in the study of the divine image. Charles Hodge in his Systematic Theology refers to them as "elements of the image of God," not the image. The reader must also be reminded that the King James Version does not (nor the recent NIV) respect the Greek in Ephesians 4:24. The NASB and others do. The emphasis in this verse is not on abstract righteousness and holiness but rather on truth--truth that is righteous and holy. That is the reason for starting the next verse with, "Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH. . . ." The same emphasis is in Colossians 3:9, 10. "Do not lie to one another, since you have laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him."

What is knowledge (epignosis) according to the image of God, the God who cannot lie? Titus 1:2. It is truth.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. . . ." He told Pilate, ". . . for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. . . ." He told his disciples, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Of the Holy Spirit Christ said, ". . . when He, the Spirit of truth, comes He will guide you into all the truth. . . ."

Anyone possessing a particle of diligence will discover from God's emphasis in His Word that the supreme issue is truth and its consequences versus the lie and its consequences. Everything hinges on this. The entire drama of God's glorious grace centers on truth--the knowledge of it, the righteousness of it, and the holiness of it. This is the impressive objective for the image renewal in man. It is truth that sanctifies the saints, (John 17:17) and it was truth that was the issue at the temptation. Paul writes in Romans 1:25:

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. . . ."

Adam and Eve were the first ones to demonstrate this utter abasement as they worshipped the serpent by heeding his words more than God's. Ever since that heinous moment man has always been motivated by the dictates and demands of his sinful situation rather than the truth of God.

The uniqueness of the being of man, his personality and relationships are inseparable from the truth of God. Man in this likeness of God was so constituted that divine truth is the only logical necessity. When this truth was exchanged for a lie this image became man's dilemma. Paul's affirmations in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 and Romans 7:14-24 illustrate this clearly. Now, in which way is man like God? Some very basic descriptions of this likeness are presented in the first part of Genesis. They are as follows:

1. As does his Creator, so does the first Adam exist in multiple fashion.

Genesis 5:2: "He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Adam in the day when they were created."
This is unavoidable fact, Eve is also Adam. Man is not only male but male and female. God's intention for divine resemblance lies in the multiplicity of man.

2. As is his Creator's so man's activity is based on a mutual contract.

Genesis 2:18: "I will make him a helper suitable for him. . . ."
Genesis 2:24: ". . . and they shall become one flesh."

Man is so arranged that it is not good for him to be alone. As divine image bearer man is destined for correlative effort, assumption of status, together with a continuous offering of required potentials, unique to each of the two.

3. As his Creator, so does man exhibit diverse personal properties.

Genesis 2:22: "And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which he had taken out of man."
Verse 23: ". . . she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man."

Certainly, this difference of personal attributes is beyond the biological make-up of man and woman. The difference is not only for reproduction but also for the perpetuation of the true psycho-spiritual sphere of man and woman.

4. As is Creator, so is man a demonstrator of divine love.
Genesis 2:24: "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife. . . ."
These words "shall cleave to his wife" are explained by Christ to be a divine fusion of permanent duration, (Matthew 19:4-6). As Christ says in the explanation, this union is maintained properly only through a true heart from which issues forth "the perfect bond of unity" (Colossians 3:14). In this union each person manifests respect for the other's dignity, together with unconditional humility for, and trust in, the other.
5. As does his Creator, so does man, both in the male and female, show creative power.
Genesis 1:28: "And God blessed them; and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over. . . ."
The blessing and mandate came to both, male and female. Under this umbrella of divine providence, one, by specific endowment, complements what the other does not supply. They are to operate either consecutively or simultaneously in cooperative effort. As one is not the other, they were intended as a mutually beneficial unit.
6. As is his Creator, so man is designed to be absolutely conversant within himself.
Genesis 2:25: "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."
In comparing Genesis 2:16,17 with 3:2,3, we see this conversancy at its best. Man was to express the blending of wills and endeavor in a uniformity of purpose.
7. As is his Creator, so man was to be in anticipation of a finished product in any area of his activity.
Genesis 2:15: "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it."
We must perceive here the implication that man was to function, not by instinct, but by knowledge according to purposeful plans of action. All his procedures followed the channels of righteousness and culminated in the holiness of the anticipated glory of achievements.
There are a few more specific fundamentals that impose themselves on us from these chapters in Genesis. They are definite reflections of God in man as seen in other parts of the Scriptures.
1. Both constituents of man are made in the image of God.
Implication: inherent equality of dignity in each, male and female.
2. Both, male and female, have dominion over the creatures.
Implication: a correlative impact on creation and responsibility to God.
3. Both, male and female, were liable to the test of faithfulness.
Implication: Both experienced the knowledge of the good through obedience.
4. Maleness and femaleness are categorical characteristics.
Implication: distinction of being and function of irreversible essence.
5. Reference to male, and creation of the same, is first.
Implication: inviolable principle of sequence of male-female economy.
6. The male predominantly bears the name Adam.
Implication: On the male rests "divinely allotted" precedence of responsibility to God.

With these singular characteristics man is different from all other creatures. This is why the truth of God is so eternally crucial for man. Anyone who thoroughly studies Romans 1:18-32 discovers that truth is the central imperative for man's proper function. Notice that the first result of the oppression of truth by unrighteousness is the alienation between man and woman (verses 26, 27). This alienation, even though in embryonic form, was certainly a fact at the fall: ". . . . they knew that they were naked;. . . and made themselves loin coverings." The list that is given in Romans 1:28-32 is to demonstrate the ferocious consequences of a mind that is destitute of the truth of God.

The Fall of Man

In the fall of Adam we see the incongruity of man, made in the image of God, commencing a life based entirely on falsehood, (John 8:44). It is comparable to the removal of the force of gravity out of our entire solar system. The ingenuity of Satan's procedure is seen in the medium for his attack. Genesis 3:1, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field ." Whatever the word crafty implies--it is used in the good sense (Proverbs 14:15,18), and in the bad sense (Exodus 21:14)-we can safely deduct that the serpent's capability, being of surpassing condition, was most suitable. What is the reason? Matthew 10:16 and Proverbs 14:15 seem to imply that "crafty" embraces the idea of "knowing how to proceed effectively." Therefore, it was a creature nearest to rational man that was to be an instrument of mediation. However, the weight of the aptness of the strategy lies more in the fact that the medium was a creature over which Man had dominion.

It is very important to realize the consecution of authority. In joining Genesis chapter one with 1 Corinthians 11:3 and maybe Luke 10:18, this consecution of dominion is clearly explicated. It proceeds from the Highest to the lowest, from the ruling to the ruled. Notice the allusion of this gradation of government in Genesis. God makes the covenant of life with Adam prior to the making of Eve. From Eve's knowledge of the covenant (Genesis 3:3) it can be held that it was all inclusively communicated to her by Adam. Man's dominion over the creatures is clear from Genesis 1:26,28. Also, we see definitely a chain of command demonstrated by the three Persons in the deity. The Father has the leading role: ". . . Father, if Thou art willing ... yet not My will, but Thine be done." So speaks Jesus in the Scriptures toward the Father. Of the Holy Spirit, Christ says, ". . . I will send Him to you ... He shall glorify Me ...," thus displaying commissioning power over Him. It is only logical that this divine economy becomes a strong aspect in the life of man as he reflects the glory of God.

Therefore to secure a sure deterioration of this likeness, Satan was determined to choose a creature that was subject to man. Notice the way the consecution of dominion is thus reversed. The serpent does not approach Adam, the head, but rather the woman. This is contrasted later by God calling out, "Where are you?" He is calling the man. But Satan takes the reverse by utilizing a subservient one to assume the leading role. From the serpent to Eve, and from Eve to Adam: ". . . and she gave also to her husband, and he ate," from Adam to God. God's covenant of life was broken by insubordination through the reversal of the order of governmental sequence. The importance of this is shown later when God comes into the situation and we see Adam passing the blame on to Eve, and Eve to the serpent. It is usually assumed that the reason for selecting Eve was that she was the "weaker vessel" (1 Peter 3:7). But that kind of exposition is only indicative of the tacit claim that the woman is somewhat less in dignity. The weight if the fall centers in insubordination. The reader is encouraged to study Proverbs 30:21-23. Also, We mist remember that Satan used the same strategy in Christ at the temptation. Remember? Like 4:3,9: "If you are the Sin if God ..." Satan was soliciting Christ's insubordination to His Father, which would have resulted in the worship if the creature, and a self condemnation as given in Psalm 115:4-8. One may ask, what comes first, the lie or the insubordination? According to Romans 1:21-28, bit especially verses 21 and 25, it is both, one and the same. Therefore the exchange if the truth for a lie began in the "paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines if demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). Such contumacy was king Sail's downfall. Fir Samuel, speaking fir God, said:

"For rebellion is as the sin if divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word if the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:23)

This verse pits both together-rebellion and insubordination are parallel to rejection if God's Word.

Definitely, the fall if man was the result if insubordination to the truth if God, the indispensable sustenance fir man's proper being, function, and relationships.

The Consequence of the Fall

Reference has been made to the immediate effect of the exchange of the truth for the lie. Man's abrogation of dominion over the creature, his instantaneous suffocation of reciprocal intimacy with himself and his prompt abandonment of communion with God become the cornerstones if the life if fallen man.

As one reads through the Scriptures, it becomes apparent that man, without divine restraint, degrades himself to the very point that cessation of his earthly life becomes an inevitability. The Flood, Sodom and Gomorra, the destruction if the Canniness, the disintegration if the nation if Israel are all indicative that as man bases his life in falsehood he is always in a collision course. Christ's eschatological discourses are drenched with this very idea--that the whole history of this world is heading to its final crash. Within one of His discourses, Like 17:20-37, Christ, with a very succinct phrase, reiterates the intrinsic inclination if man to accentuate the worship if the creature rather than the Creator. Christ says, "Remember Lot's wife." It must be remembered that the immediate emphasis is in the fact that many will follow the path of deception into destruction, especially at the return of Christ. The wider context focuses on the effective kingdom of God. In this context the kingdom strongly implies man's submission to God. This, Lot's wife is presented to us an epitome of insubordination. Now, the tendency is to view only the obvious: her recalcitrance and resultant ruin. When Christ says, "Remember Lot's wife," He wants us to remember not only her, but also her husband Lot and the circumstances connected with them. With that terse, yet pungent statement our Lord introduces us not only to a character that is tenaciously entangled in the retrogressive pragmatism of a lascivious society, but also to the society itself. A society in which the solidity of the male character had reversed itself to a sordid and spineless personality, and the confident reliance of the female in the male had transformed itself into a contriving restlessness. Any careful study of both Lot and his family, and the situation of Sodom, quickly displays some implied details. As we view the frantic drama of vacillation of persons with a feeble and twisted conception of truth and its righteousness, it becomes apparent that at its core lies the lack of practical subordination to God's truth. The final consequence is sex perversion at its ultimate state. It is one step beyond pederasty, as forbidden in Leviticus 18:22,23. Lot was so extremely harassed (2 Peter 2:6-8) that he was a man of no respect. He was mocked by his in-laws, deserted by his wife, defied by his neighbors, and finally abased by his incestuous daughters. We are clearly instructed that the end-time, culminating in Christ's return is AT LEAST, as it was in Lot's circumstances. This is an awesome warning to the elect if God. It is nit an accident that Lot's family is flashed before is. It is to show is how the godless society will tend to shatter the families if saints, if God's truth is nit in the center if knowledge and practice. If we are living in the time if the end we mist anticipate therefore another and final attack in the image if God in man. This attack will come, if necessity, as exchange if truth for a lie, (2 Thessalonians 2:11). In 2 Timothy 4:3,4, an apostasy from truth is announced very candidly. The reason for it is the pursuit if pleasures rather than the live if God, (2 Timothy 3:4). The effect that it will have in the male-female relationship will have to exceed the imagination if present man. Certainly, Peter, in his second epistle, chapter two, presents is with an idea if how it will be.

We all know that the cessation if worship if the true God is never followed by a vacuum if worship. Such cessation is rather always the result if idol worship, called spiritual adultery, e.g.. Psalm 106:34-39. We also learn from the Word that idol worship is always followed by malignant propensities such as greed fir things, list fir pleasure, and acceleration if malevolence. All this, and much mire, is nurtured in the heart if one who, having been so constituted to operate in truth, functions in falsehood. Examples are plentiful in the Bible. Israel's oscillation between Jehovah and Ball is the mist illustrative example if how ugly it is when vessels if honor are filled with falsehood. Probably the mist heinous if all perversions is the perversion if the sexes. By that is nit primarily meant the biological, but rather, and foremost, the psycho-spiritual sex perversion. A perversion in which the male has list the acute sensitivity to his headship in behalf if the female, and the female, in consequence if the male's relinquishment, has become an intimidating expert. Essentially, this is where sex perversion finds its inception into the following generations if man. This perversion is, mist likely, the orifice out if which flows every type if lawlessness. The very fact that God made the male and female to be the foundation fir the world's humanity, and their relationship the source if universal health and well being, provides the certainty that every succeeding generation is programmed by the preceding one. The sinful nature is given in to the next generation without alteration and demands individual regeneration in every new offspring. The parents' regeneration has no such effect on them. Every actual transgression of the parents is quickly and subtly incorporated into the habits of their children. Thus, any male-female relationship which is not based on regeneration goes toward total corruption. Unless this retrogression is hampered by common grace or reverses by specific grace, the society becomes quickly liable of God's vengeance. A thorough study of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles verifies this all too well. Who introduced the misery into the royalty of Israel? We read in 2 Samuel 12:10: "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and taken the wife of Uric the Hittite to be your wife." David's corruption of the male-female relationship had a devastating effect on all succeeding rulers. Perhaps, Ahab and Jezebel protrude as the worst of all the rulers. It is clear from 1 Kings chapters 21 and 22 that sex perversion was proceeding toward full maturity. We see from that perversion flowing covetousness, bitterness, deceit, and murder. The consequence of the fall is always seen first in the male-female economy. It is best seen to be so in the following references:

Transmission of original sin-Psalm 58:3
Perpetuation of sinful practices--Ezra 9:1,2; Isaiah 3:12 (2:22-3:15)

The Image Renewal and the Male-Female Relationship

As individualistic as the actual event of regeneration is, it is, however, never, in any way, detached from the male-female relationship. By the very fact that regeneration means birth, we are reminded of the cooperative effort of the two sexes in the physical area. Christ's relationship to the church is that of male-female marriage. Our entrance into heaven is integration into the "family" of God. Saints are considered to be sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18), and brothers and sisters (James 2:15). The very term "household of God" (Ephesians 2:19) bears down on the economy of the sexes. The inclusive expression "commonwealth of Israel" (Ephesians 2:12) carries with it the intricacies produced by this man-woman combination. The covenant of grace, made with Abraham, embraces the fusion of the two, together with the offspring. In its inception we see Abraham, Sarah, and son Isaac together with the whole household included in this gracious agreement. What does God say about this fountainhead of the Christian faith? In Genesis 18:18,19, God says the following:

" . . since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed. For I have chosen him, in order that he may command him and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him."

The very fact that Sarah is not mentioned says so much in relation to Scripture passages where she is specifically referred to (e.g.. Isaiah 51:1,2). This silence toward Sarah demonstrates the attitude of God toward the sex-union. As far as God is concerned they are one and known as Abraham. Even as Adam was one (Genesis 5:1,2). The very interesting picture of this oneness of Abraham is not one of exchangeable parts. This oneness is shown to us as a harmony of a leader with his follower, a head with a body, a dominator with his dominated one. 1 Peter 3:5,6 makes the Abrahamic Covenant intensely practical for the male-female relationship of all those who are in Christ. Every Christian woman is a child of Sarah on the basis of subordination to the male. In Genesis 18:18,19 we are given the foundation for divine blessings. This foundation is the male-female relationship, so perfect that it permits a successful commanding of the offspring and the household to follow the way of the Lord. From these two verses we are instructed that the proper oneness is the key that unlocks the treasures of heavenly blessings. This is fundamental for the Christian Church. Oneness, in spite of extreme diversity. The opposite, says Paul, is carnality (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). Ephesians 5:21-33 depicts the husband and wife oneness on the basis of the economy that exists between Christ and the church-the head and the body. The same goes for many other passages that refer to marriage. We are forced to conclude that marriage consists of two persons with an allotment of distinct assets, parts, places, and functions. They are categorically characteristic and therefore never exchangeable. The husband is to love and lead his wife and the wife is to respect and aid her husband. It is this marriage relationship that produces the general attitude and communion between the two sexes. Out of the atmosphere of the Abrahamic family come men and women who will have a male-female attitude that reflects the diving image, single, widowed, or otherwise. The entire stir of the "role of the women in the church" finds its origin in marriages that were very little like it was originally intended. Marriages where the male did not love as Christ loves and the female did not respect as the church does. Consequently there is a gradual change of role in the families which results in confusion and tension. This confusion and tension certainly becomes more and more apparent in the Twentieth Century, and specifically in our day. Supposing, that we are heading toward the final showdown where rebellion is at its worst; where, do you suppose, will it find its fertile soil? Nowhere, except in the breakdown of the authority structure of the male-female relationships--Esther 1:12-20.

It is useless to argue against the fact that this authority and obedience reciprocation is in the Scriptures. It is a fact of life as much as our very being. The very term "kingdom" of God carries with itself the entire concept of submission and categorical participation. Therefore, all thinking about the renewal of the image of God (John 5:24). As that happens both male and female will have to ask the question, "What am I to be as a child of God-how am I to relate myself to others in my present status-what and how am I to contribute my particular endowments?" (Romans 12:3; Colossians 3:18-4:1). What will the new convert become conscious of when he or she looks for answers to those questions? The first and foremost answer will be as the Westminster Shorter Catechism gives it, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." The convert finds out, glorifying means to reflect, and enjoying means to benefit from. Thus, he or she discovers the norm for the new life, the image of God. So, because Christ is the very image of God, a study of Christ begins. The first characteristic of Christ is His origin coupled with His unconditional humility (Philippians 2:5-10). He is the Son of God with immaculate obedience to His Father. The next characteristic is that Christ is the Head, the Lord of the Church, the Groom of the Bride (Ephesians 1:22; 5:25,32). Further study of God's Word quickly reveals that the practical outworking of this Christ-likeness finds itself in the male-female relationships of any part of the spectrum of the society of man. The male convert finds that God has made him to function properly as a male, and the female as female. Therefore, as any concerned convert becomes image conscious, he will have to search through the creation and re-creation evidences in order to know how to grow and function properly. He finds that recreation implies a restoration of an original purpose. But, what is this original purpose for creating man? In Genesis 2:23,24 we read:

"And the man said, `This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.' "

Both Christ and Paul reiterate the point of those two verses (Matthew 19:4,5; Ephesians 5:30,31). In each case the emphasis is on "oneness." It is a oneness where diversity is brought into perfect functional harmony-a oneness where differences are dove-tailed-a oneness where benefits are only true when they are fruits of cooperative efforts-a oneness that culminates into pleasures that are characteristic of God (John 15:11). Male and female are to experience a oneness that is in every way typical of God (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 10:30). The achievement of oneness is only possible on any level-whether in marriage, in society, in church, in the church with Christ, or in the Godhead-as each participant knows his constitution, function and responsibility.

The Male-Female Place and Function in the Church

What goes on in privacy, inevitably affects the public. The way Christians perform their marriage has much to do with the way they function in the church. That this is true is seen from the fact that no one can become an elder or deacon unless his private and his home life is conforming to the truth of God (1 Timothy 3:4,12). Therefore, what is normative for the marriage union is also normative for the harmony of the church. That this is true is seen from the insistence that the church is compared to a family, in which there are sons and daughters and brothers and sisters (Ephesians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 6:18; James 2:15) who are molded and nurtured on male-female principles. To miss this is the creation of a dichotomy between the home and the church and thus a severing of the shepherds from the flock. It would be a disintegration of the whole import of the covenant of grace. For it is the covenant that ties the family as a unit into the warp and woof of the church. Thus if the church, in practice, does not uphold the male-female relational principles it will soon be the foremost contributor of the decay of the marriage harmony. If this concept, "what is normative for marital oneness is normative for the oneness of the church," can be held as a scriptural doctrine, then we can draw some very powerful conclusions in behalf of the "role" of the women in the church, especially as to the thinking of Paul and Peter when their writing touches that very issue. It is very obvious that Paul's mind goes in the direction of tying the marriage relationship to the relationship that exists- between the church and Christ. So, as Paul, in Ephesians 5:21-33, briefly touches the mystery of Christ and the Church, he gives us the extent, the intensity, and the distinctions that exist in marriage. This demonstrates how acutely conscious he is of the importance of the proper order in the male-female relationship. This is seen in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. Here Paul places great weight on the order of government. We must conceive verse three not to be restrictive merely to the church, but rather it must be viewed as a universal maxim. For the unbeliever it is an offense, and for the believer it is a means of blessing. Why, according to verse 4, does the man disgrace his head when covered, whereas the woman (verse 5) disgraces her head when uncovered? What is the norm for that? The norm is given in verses 7, 8, and 9. Man is the basis for the being, function, and responsibility of the woman; that is, what the man is and does determines the woman's being and action. Another implication that can be drawn from this is that the male-female relationship is comparable to that which exists between God and the Messiah (see the emphasis in Luke 7:8--"for I am also a man placed under authority ..."). ] From the context the covering does not seem to be a reference to a veil, cloth, or any such thing, but rather it refers to the fullness and length of the hair. The very fact that in verse 6 the two words shear and shave are used, we have reason to believe that this is so, for shear implies a decrease in length and shave the removal of the hair. In Israel a person with a head shaven was indicating that he was undergoing a cleansing from some defilement (Leviticus 14:8; Numbers 8:7). The purification from uncleanness by shaving is seen also in Deuteronomy 21:1014. A woman prisoner from a foreign country considers her background an unclean and shameful thing and signifies it by shaving. Verses 13-15 prove even further that the issue is the length of the hair as an indicative of the chain of command. In verse 15 particularly, Paul couples the three words into a parallel unit. To him long hair is a glory, an indication of her practice of reflecting the role of the male. It is the propriety of the length of the hair that makes it a covering. The normative covering in turn is indicative of the fact that she recognizes and practices her function as a reflector of the male authority over her. This recognition and practice of her function is specifically seen in her relationship to God: prayer, and her relationship to other women: (Titus 2:3,4) prophesying. From the following references we know that prophesying is not basically "forecasting," but rather transmitting the word of God (Exodus 4:10-16; 7:1,2). Thus, when a woman prophesies she is basically transmitting what she has heard the male saying, since he is her next order of authority. That this is true is seen from Paul's instruction as given in 1 Corinthians 14:33-35. Here the woman is very typically asked to practice silence. The reason for the silence is only logical, on account of the presence of males who do the prophesying, and a medium to the women is not necessary since they can all listen to what the males are saying, Thus, Paul says, if women have any questions to ask, they can be resolved at home (even for single and spiritually widowed women). And let at be said here, the explanation that has been offered for the silence of women, e.g.., silence as prohibition to women of evaluating a prophecy, as so terribly poor and inconsistent with the immediate context. The two phrases, ". . . but let them subject themselves . . ." and ". . . for at as improper for a woman to speak an church ...," alone say enough that Paul as stressing the male-female principle of the consecution of command (see also Acts 21:8-12, where Agabus prophesied, not Philip's daughters). To further strengthen this powerful principle of the order of authority we come to the strongest of all the New Testament portions where Paul as very firm and unequivocally decisive. In 1 Timothy chapter two Paul, moved by this principle, and with apostolic determinism, firmly reaffirms the difference of the "roles" of male and female. This difference extends also into the area of prayer. Chapter two begins with "parabola oon"--"I exhort therefore ..." The word therefore always carries on a previous emphasis-the emphasis of 1:18, e.g.. the command to fight the good fight. This fight as to maintain faith and a good conscience. In chapter two Paul begins to gave instruction for this fight. Who as Paul addressing with these instructions? Mainly Timothy (1:2). Timothy was to make sure that proper doctrines were taught (1:3). Here lies the key of the whole epistle. Paul starts has epistle with the focus on the establishment of "sound doctrine according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God," (1:10,11), and he ends up with the same urgency, e.g.. 6:20,21. Within this frame of insistence for sound doctrines Paul arranges for Timothy the practical picture of proper conduct an the household of God (3:15). This practical conduct as the consequence of avoiding other doctrines (4:6,7,15,16). Very logical and basic as Paul's procedure an arranging this picture of orderly conduct, as he introduces an chapter two the concept of humility. Humility through prayer for all mankind (anthropos). In this passage (2:1-7) we see prayer as a means of bringing about benign political conditions, conducive for both Christian maturity and evangelism. Paul presents this as an objective for the saints: prayer for authorities to secure the flourishing of Christianity. Notice, in verse 7 Paul brings into the picture his apostolic calling. Why? Whenever Paul presents an imperative for the thoughts, words, and actions of the saints, he does at to show that what he says as normative and must be heeded as being the word of the Lord (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 1: 1,5). Verse eight bases itself on the emphasis of verse 7. This as the reason for beginning verse 8 with "bulimia oon"-"I determine therefore." The "I determine" reflects has apostleship, whereas the "therefore" to the previous prayer emphasis. What does he determine? Paul determines something for both the male and the female by coupling two infinitives to the word "bulimia." For the men he determines "to pray," for the women "to adorn." This as not to put a damper on the women's prayer life-not at all. Remember, Paul lays the groundwork for observable and effective conduct for the view of legislative people. It as therefore only reasonable that Paul wants saints to present the beauty of the image of God, e.g.. subordination to the truth of God as the logical imperative for the male-female relationship.

With Paul's maxim we see then the emphasis on the male leadership by way of prayer, and the female's purposeful reticence. This reticence as access plashed with simplicity of dress (not ugly or slovenly) and good works. This maxim of the male-female role takes on stronger solidity when Paul brings an further marks of distinction. This as not to create a gap between the two sexes but rather to emphasize the inherent uniqueness of the two distinct persons who were destined for oneness. It as important, before we go on, that we take a look at the meaning of the word "quiet," which is an the Greek "haysychia." Dictionaries define this word with more than the meaning of vocal silence as seen an Acts 22:2. This word's meaning as closer to the concept of peace and therefore, when used, focuses more on the disposition of the situation or person referred to. Its thrust as more on tranquility that comes from knowing and feeling absolute security. This inner tranquility as only possible an a disposition of unconditional surrender to authority. To prove this the reader as encouraged to study 1 Peter 3:1-7 where Sarah's tranquil heart as used as an illustration and basis for the female's attitude toward the male. Thus when Paul proceeds in 1 Timothy 2:ll ff., he as not making merely a marginal remark, but rather he as establishing a course from which every spiritually progressive woman would strongly desire to graduate cum laude. For I in this course lies the mystery that makes possible the "virtuous woman" of Proverbs chapter 31. Paul commands (learn as an the imperative) a woman to learn tranquility an every area where her subjection as applicable. In verse 12 Paul shows the two areas where agitation and fretfulness occur foremostly, e.g.. teaching and authority. The structure of verse 12 is important. Laterally in the Greek it says, "but for a woman to teach I do not permit, neither to dominate a man, but to be in quietness." It as usually understood that the teaching and dominating are both in reference to the man but does not exclude the possibility of a woman teaching another woman and also children. Certainly, there are so many exceptions once we deal with situations arising out of imperfect conditions. However, before we get so involved in exceptions we must first lay some rules down to which we can return whenever exceptions have been made, otherwise very soon the exception becomes the rule. Paul's emphasis to Timothy all through this epistle is the teaching of sound doctrine in order to avoid heresies. Therefore has prohibition to woman in reference to teaching and taking authority over the male, heretic or not, as absolute. The reference to women teaching other women in Titus as entirely a different sphere of instruction and has to do with the practical aspects of homemaking. It should be remembered that in the Hebrew mind at was inconceivable to see a woman teach boys. Compare Proverbs with that idea, and you wall find that 30 of the 31 chapters are all about a father instructing has son. The well-known verse, Deuteronomy 6:7, as addressed to the father who as to instruct has sons. The scripture everywhere implies that the word of God as issued to the male as a tool by which he as to fulfill has responsibility to the female.

From the rest of this second chapter in First Timothy we learn that the sequence of command is not a result of the fall but is rather inherent in the creation of Man.

There is too much evidence for any doubt or dispute that the male-female consecutions is closely interwoven into the concept of the image of God. Such relationship is the permanent means for the truth of God to bring about the divine radiance that was so manifest in the Person and life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The beauty of the Song of Solomon is an evidence that this relationship, saturated with eternal truth, becomes the most wonderful expression of the relationship within the Deity.

In view of the emphasis made in this report it is believed that the word of God teaches us not to neglect this fundamental concept of the male-female relationship. Every practice, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, needs to be emphasized to establish this role consciousness in every area of our life. Therefore, when we think in terms of the functions of the ones who are distinguished in the congregation by way of special emphasis, we must realize that the male-female relational principle becomes a very crucial issue. These men are sorted out by way of ordination to become patterns of maturity in Christ. Thus, in I Timothy 3:1-13 the two functions of congregational leadership, e.g. overseer and deacon, cannot be assumed by anyone who does not demonstrate the upholding of the principle of the relationship of the sexes. The same phrase is used both for the deacon and elder, "mias gynikos andres" (vs. 2,12), meaning "one-woman men." The much disputed verse 11 will certainly continue to be a target of much debate. However, whether Paul refers to the wives of both the elder and deacon (preferable to this writer) or to an auxiliary women's group, one thing must become clear in our thinking: there is not a single precedent in the Scripture where a woman has been specifically set aside for leadership functions. Leadership rests on the male, not because he wants it, but because it is a Divine intention.

Conclusions and Considerations

Jesus Christ in His high priestly prayer in John 17:26 says, " . and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them." This part of the prayer indicates clearly that Christ has requested for us the same love that exists in and among the Persons of the Trinity. In Romans 5:5 we see that this love has been poured out into the hearts of the saints. We all know that divine love is the bond of perfection. No matter what the differences are, love harmonizes any distinction into a beautifully merged oneness. Such oneness is indicated in Galatians 3:28. That verse was never intended to emphasize the extinction of distinctions. On the contrary, it is a statement that expresses oneness in spite of permanent and extreme diversity. With all our distinct and unique attributes none exceeds the others in dignity or preference. After all, it is the darkness that veils the differences and neutralizes all of creation. The light, however, will always permit each one to exhibit himself as he is, and appreciate it. Love, with its essential constituents of respect, humility, and trust, is the only way the saints can demonstrate their union with Christ.

Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit by which the Father is glorified. It is the sum-total of the law of God--His word. Our regeneration is the consequence of the word. Our sanctification grows daily on that heavenly sustenance. It was mentioned at the start of this report, man lives with tensions with which he is unable to cope. These tensions originate from the exchange of the truth for a lie. Under these conditions man has lost the consciousness of a reward in eternity and therefore his ambitions are to reward himself with anything now and here. Consequently, and unwittingly, he pursues,

1. accomplishment rather than being,

2. things rather than development of personality,

3. emphasis on the individual rather than on the relationships of individuals.

Christians must not deceive themselves that they are so easily delivered from this carnality. Almost every epistle of Paul shows that we are very easily entangled in this web of worldly pride. For example, Paul's urging in Philippians chapter two could not be any clearer. He says, ". . . have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus ..." We all know the attitude of Christ --He sought no status, no recognition, no reputation--His attitude was to fulfill His calling to the minutest detail for the glory of God. Let a male fulfill his function as a Christ-like leader and lover and the female her function as a reflector of the church and her attitude toward her Lord, and anticipate recognition, reward, and praise in heaven. Let this anticipation be, not because of what we have done for the Lord in accomplishment, in accumulation and statistics, but let our anticipation be because of how we have surrendered ourselves to the image renewal; because of how we have submitted ourselves in service toward others; because of how we loved, prayed for, and praised our enemies, etc.

Based on the emphasis of this report, and its biblical imperatives, the appeal is to the assemblies of Jesus Christ to accentuate the physical and psycho-spiritual distinctions of both parts of MAN, male and female, to the smallest detail. Let the male totally assume any spiritual teaching anywhere, public and private, and let the females busy themselves with good works and teach only those things that make better homes where our covenant children are reared. Reverse the trend of sinful man that removes the authority structure of the image of God. [End of Minority Report # 2]


[NOTE: This affirmation was slightly amended so as to read as follows]

An Affirmation Concerning Biblical "Ordination"

"Ordination" as seen in the New Testament is the solemn setting apart of an individual to represent the Church of Jesus Christ.

In accordance with Scripture the special officers of the church (teaching and ruling elders, and deacons) are set apart to their tasks by means of distinctive, formal "ordination" or "setting apart" ceremonies. Presbyterian, and we believe biblical, church polity understands that ordination ceremonies do not convey special grace nor the ability to be an officer. The Holy Spirit give gifts to believers. When both the body and the individual recognize the Spirit's gifts to and calling of that individual to a special office, that person is "set apart" or "ordained." The ceremony is an acknowledgment of the gifts and calling of the Holy Spirit.

That which essentially distinguishes the ordination of an elder from that of a deacon is neither the form nor the ceremony, but rather the specific task to which the individual is set apart.

An elder is set apart to serve the community by teaching, exhorting, and ruling. He exercises a disciplinary authority. The deacon serves the community as its representative in matters primarily of physical need. The deacon does possess delegated authority to represent the church in deeds of mercy. Such serving authority is not to be confused with the teaching and disciplinary authority of elders. The deacon serves under the direction of the session (elders) and, in the capacity of deacon, disciplines no one.

In this day of general ignorance as to the meaning of "ordination," Reformed Presbyterian elders should be especially careful to educate their congregations as to the nature and meaning of biblical ordination.

ACTION: Synod adopted the affirmation. The report was continued in the afternoon meetings (see below). Synod recessed for lunch. Rev. Robert Hamilton led in prayer.

ROLE OF WOMEN, continued

At 2:20, Dr. Hurley made the following motion on behalf of the majority:


That some women, full of the Holy Spirit and with appropriate gifts from him, may be called of God to serve the body of Christ as deacons and that women so gifted and called may be set apart (ordained) to the office of deacons. After the majority position was debated, Mr. Miladin moved the following minority position:

We affirm in the absence of any compelling biblical evidence to support the ordination of women to the special office of deacon, that this office be limited to qualified men. At the same time acknowledging that the Scriptures contain many examples of serving women, and also mention "women" in 1 Timothy 3: 11, suggesting a possible third class of serving people in conjunction with elders and deacons, we affirm the right of a local church to have a separate body or board of women (which may be called deaconesses), auxiliary and subordinate to the deacons, to be compatible with Scripture.


After lengthy debate and several amendments, the minority position read as follows was adopted at 10:15 p.m. Negative votes were recorded by W. Zumbach and R. Freiwald.

We affirm in the absence of any compelling biblical evidence to support the ordination of women to the special office of deacon, that this office be limited to qualified men. At the same time acknowledging that the Scriptures contain many examples of women who serve, we affirm the right of a local church to have a separate body of unordained women who may be called deaconesses.

[Stated Clerk's Note: The afternoon session was extended by motion to 5:15 and was closed with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Thomas Waldecker. Synod voted to reconvene at 8:30. The session resumed with Dr. John Buswell leading in prayer. After several motions extending the time, the evening session was adjourned with prayer by Rev. George Bragdon at 10:20 p.m.]

Documents of Synod, pages 390-437.

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