The Woman’s Role in the World

James wrote:
>>I think you make some good points in showing that the Bible does not
>>prohibit the woman from any interaction with men under any circumstances.
>>It is clear that certain things are necessary, such as shopping and
>>contracting. When she interacts with a merchant, it is on a buyer-seller
>>basis. When she interacts with a contractor, it is on a contractual
>>basis. The world over, people recognize the arm’s length relationship
>>between a contractor and contractee. The contractor is not the woman’s
>>servant. He is doing a job, but she is not his boss. He only has to do
>>what he contracted to do.

Dave repled:
> James — this is pure mumbo jumbo. What does the verse
>say — it says she should NEVER EVER exercise authority over a man. You
>make all kinds of exceptions but ARBITRAIRLY draw the line at

James answers:
Come on, Dave. The Bible is book, not a verse. You have to take the whole
picture on a subject. Consider the example of the Sabbath. God strictly
forbade work on the Sabbath (Ex 20:8-10) even to the point of it being
punishable by death (Num 15:32-35), but He recognized exceptions for care of
the sick and animals (Lk 14:3-5) and service in the temple (Mt 12:5). None
of that is found in the verse prohibiting work on the Sabbath. Likewise 1
Tim 2:9 strictly enjoins the wearing of modest apparel, but there are
occasions when everybody is immodestly attired, and they do not violate I
Tim 2:9. The fact that occasions arise when we are properly immodestly
attired does not nullify the general requirement to be modestly attired.
The woman’s subordination to man is a general requirement for which
exceptions exist. Like the case of the Sabbath, there are times when there
are exceptions to women being in subjection to men, but it does not nullify
the general requirement for the woman to be subject to the man. The man is
to be subject to his wife in her sexual desires (I Cor 7:4), but that does
not nullify his position as head of the wife (Eph 5:23) or make her over him
(Eph 5:24). There are times when a woman tells a male clerk what she wants
at the store, and he goes and does it. That does not make her his boss or
him subject to her. Everybody recognizes that there is an arms length
relationship between vendors/merchants/contractors that does not involve
employer/employee, master/servant relationships. There is a difference
between merchant/customer relationships, even if the merchant is selling
personal services like PattiMaids, and the relationship that is established
between a servant and a master. It is recognized by the law.

As a “furthermore” in regard to the above argument that the text says that
she should never ever exercise authority over a man, you yourself recognize
that there are times when it is lawful for her to do that, e.g. when it is
not as a Bible class teacher, elder, or preacher. You recognize limits on
the prohibition of this verse and say it only applies to ecclesiatical
settings. I maintain that there are no indications in the passage that
limits it to the assembly. It is a general order that is to be maintained,
for which there are minor exceptions such as merchant/customer
relationships. However, the general rule of the man/woman relationship (I
Cor 11:3) is violated when a woman is placed in authority over the man.

>You are guilty of a violation of 2 John 9 when you bind this, which
>apparaently you do not do — so it cannot be a very important doctrine.
>Too bad Tina has to suffer over it.

What is this Dave? You introduce II Jn 9, and then say I am not guilty of
it, so it seems pointless to introduce it, except that you cast the
controversy into the role of either being unimportant or heretical if you
don’t take the accepted approach. Let’s look briefly at II Jn 9. It is the
hammer the brethren use to bring the unorthodox back into line. However,
the use of it is arbitrary and reserved for cases when nothing else can be
found to defeat unorthodoxy. Why is the woman’s subjection to man a proper
use II Jn 9 and some other things are not? I have never understood how you
can consistently apply II Jn 9 if you understand it to be a generic command.

I believe II Jn 9 is talking specifically about the teaching that Jesus
did not come in the flesh. When it is taken to mean any teaching of Christ,
then the consistent use of it 1) makes the ignorant and weak doomed to
eternal hell and 2) makes everyone who does not exactly agree with you
doomed to eternal hell. Neither of these conclusions is consistent with the
Bible. God’s grace covers ignorance and weakness (Col 1:10, Php 3:15, I Jn
1:7) and the Bible calls for tolerance when disagreements arise (Rom 14:21),
when accommodation can be made.

>>The prohibition to be in silence and not in authority in relation to men
>>is a general prohibition, just like the Sabbath is a general prohibtion to
>>work. There are exceptions to it as you point out in reference to
>>singing, just like there are exceptions to not working on the Sabbath.
>>The prohibition against women exercising authority over men seems to be
>>universal, because the reasons that Paul gives for a woman not having
>>authority over a man are fundamental, and are not an ecclesiastical
>>ordinance such as the Lord’s Supper. There is nothing about them specific
>>to the assemblies. The first reason is man’s primacy in the creation
>>order. The second reason was the woman’s gullibility in buying the
>>Serpent’s lie. Both of these are still true, and the logic of neither of
>>them is limited to the assemblies.
> If she is to learn in silence then Tina should not be
>writing to this list — she should only be reading. This is inescapable.
>Your position is totally untenable.

How is it untenable when the Bible clearly approves of women teaching men in
some circumstances (Acts 18:26)? The Bible teaches that there are
circumstances when a woman may teach a man a man publicly (Col 3:16), but
she may not be in authority over him. This forum constitutes such a
circumstance. This is an open forum where there is no discussion leader.
The only control is a moderator who insures comity is maintained, and that
moderator is male.

>The prohibition has to do with teaching on religious and moral matters.

Dave, this is a pure assertion. You cannot establish this from the text as
your position on modest apparel demonstrates. The reasons Paul gives for
the woman being in subjection to man are as fundamental as the creation
itself. There is simply nothing there about the church.

>It does not have to do with a woman being a computer science instructor and
>having men in the class. You are telling me that no Christian college
>student can go to a class that has a woman teacher. This is just over the
>top and way beyond what the bible requires. This was the last thing that
>Paul had in mind when he wrote about our obligations in this regard.

Dave, the reality is that there are women in Congress, and some cities have
a woman mayor. Those are things a Christian woman should not do (I Cor
11:3). However, like I am stuck taking classes from an evolutionist or an
atheist or a fornicator, I do not believe that God expects me to live as a
hermit (I Cor 5:10) because some people don’t do right. I believe that a
Christian woman would be prohibited from a job as a college professor where
she was obligated to teach co-ed classes.

Women in positions of authority are most often merciless (try to talk a
woman cop out of a ticket or appeal to Judge Judy’s compassion) and strictly
by the book, or else they are weak and ineffective. They are unable to
handle power because of their emotional nature. That is the underlying
reason behind Paul’s second reason “the woman being deceived was in the
transgression”. It is the woman’s nature to be led by her emotions and to
therefore be gullible. That is why a man can seduce a woman. He can cause
her emotions to overcome her judgment. It is the man who is endowed with
the power to more consistently apply rational judgment. The woman’s
judgment is unduly influenced by emotion or total lack thereof. She is not
as proficient in leadership qualities as men are because she was made to be
a helper suitable for man (Gen 2:18). She is designed to be a follower and
not a leader. Because Eve did not have good critical judgment, she was
deceived. That is characteristic of women, and for that reason God placed
man in charge.

James wrote:
>>If we keep on in the direction that we are going with the modern reasoning
>>about women, we will soon follow the denominations into women preachers.
>>Some of the liberal brethren have already done so. Following your
>>reasoning we could just as easily have women preachers. I mean, aren’t
>>they subject to the elders? They are not REALLY in positions of
>>authority, are they? Pretty soon Paul’s prohibition is reduced to
>>meaninglessness, just like God’s commandment to care for elderly parents
>>was circumvented by corban.
Dave replies:
> This is again just a nonsequitur — it has nothing
>to do with whether Tina can keep her job with some slight adjustments.
James answers:
Talk about a nonsequitur! The discussion is about whether Tina can be the
boss of a man. Both of us agree that she could keep her job with some
slight adjustments!

>It is wrong in the church to have a woman preacher or to have a woman teach
>a class in which
>adult men are involved.

Yes, it is wrong for a church to have a woman preacher or Bible class
teacher because
1) Adam was first formed, then Eve. (I Tim 2:13)
2) Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the
transgression (I Tim 2:14)

For the same reasons it is wrong for a Christian woman to be a co-ed college
professor, a mayor, a senator, or a boss.

>This is what Paul is talking about. He had nothing to do with putting
>women in charge of men in industry or government — this was the furtherest
>thing from his mind.

Says Dave . The text says the woman should do it because the man was
created first and the woman was deceived and fell into transgression. Where
do you see “church” in that?

>Women can be totally superior in technical ability in computer science, and
>totally able to instruct men in this regard. Adams sin and Eve’s temtation
>has absolutely NOTHING to do with this. Paul was obviously restricting his
>appliction to issues of morality and religion by using Adam and Eve as
>examples. To accuse me of going in this direction is a straw man — you
>know that this is not what I believe and the church that I attend is NOT
>going in the direction of women teachers or preachers.

The skills of men and women have the old bell-shaped-curve distribution
function. Their leadership curves are offset from one another, but they
overlap somewhat. However, in leadership skills the man’s curve is
generally more capable than the woman’s curve both in the mean and the
6-sigma outliers. You can find skilled women who are better than most men
in most any endeavor, just like women marathoners are better than most men
at running. However, the men still are better overall. You can see this in
business. Women complain about the “glass ceiling” and complain that men
discriminate against them for the highest positions because they are women.
Well, some of these companies would sell their own mothers as streetwalkers
if they could get away with it and make money, so the real reason is not a
prejudice against women. The real reason there is a “glass ceiling” is that
when you get to the extremes of leadership like you have at heads of
corporate America, men are simply better than women at leading. In
recognition of the general superiority of men over women in leadership, God
placed the woman in the home as the helper to man and placed the man in the
positions of leadership.

I am not creating a straw-man. Your view is illogical because there is no
reason to restrict the leadership of man to church as you arbitrarily do,
and to arbitrarily restrict the verse undermines the Bible principle of
man’s leadership over women. People look at your position and compare it to
the verse and say, “Well, if the leadership of men can be disregard
everywhere except the venue of the church, I don’t see any reason to apply
it there. After all, in Christ Jesus there is no difference between men and
women”. That is exactly what seveal of the denominations have already done.

Your arbitrary decision to apply I Tim 2:12 to only ecclesiastical
situations ignores the real reasons that Paul gives for not giving women
authority over men and makes the decision to not have women teachers a
doctrinal matter that is peculiar to a particular group. Others (e.g. the
Church of God) feel free to ignore that peculiar doctrinal bias. The real
prohibition is general. Just like Christ is subject to God, women are
subject to men (I Cor 11:3). If women would do what God says and be keepers
at home (Titus 2:5), we would not be having this discussion and our children
would not be the heathens that many of them are (I Tim 2:15).

>>In the early centuries idolators often became Christians (I Cor 6:9-11).
>>Could a heathen priest continue in his occupation? Could a pimp continue
>>to market girls? Could a guild member continue to attend the guild feasts
>>to their patron god? Could lottery ticket vendor continue to sell lottery
>>tickets? Could a heathen actor continue to portray lewd and immoral acts
>>in a play? Can a software developer build a porn site? These men had to
>>leave their jobs because they could not continue in them and live right.
>>They could not be accused of failing to work to support their families.
>>Many of them suffered hardships for Christ in order to do right.

> Tina — did any of this influence you? PLEASE TELL ME

If it is wrong for a woman to be over a man, it is sinful for a woman to
supervise a man, just like it is wrong for a man to sell prostitutes or
crack. The issue is, “Is it wrong for a woman to rule over a man”. If it
is wrong for her to do that, it is wrong for her to maintain a position
where she does that. Yes, this influenced Tina’s thinking. She believes it
is wrong for her to supervise a man and she is leaving it just like she
would do if her boss asked her to sell crack.

>>It is clear that the brethren recognize the general applicability of I Tim
>>2:9ff to general Christian living, because it is always the passage
>>appealed to in order to establish the requirement to dress modestly.
>>Adorning oneself in modest apparel is not limited to the assemblies, but
>>it applies to living in general. There are also exceptions to it, such as
>>when taking a bath or making love, but in general it applies. Likewise
>>there are exceptions to women exercising some authority over a man, but
>>she should not be in a supervisory position over a man, else the
>>commandment means nothing.
> So, you have set yourself up to decide what the
>exceptions are?

Dave, you are the great offender of what you complain about here. You are
excepting absolutely everything except for the church with respect to I Tim
2:12, and you have no justification for it. I except (and “accept”) those exceptions I can find in the
scriptures. I find that a woman can buy and sell (Pvbs 31:16, 24). I find
that a woman can teach a man in a private setting (Acts 18:26) and publicly
where she is not over him (Col 3:16). I find that a woman can even be a
judge in making decisions regarding men (Jdg 4:4). I also note that it
was Barak and not Deborah who was commander of the army (Jdg 4:6).
God even stripped Barak of honor for involving Deborah in his battle plan (Jdg 4:9). I
further note that God specified that it was the SONS of David who were to
sit upon his throne (Jer 33:21) and it was the SONS of the high priest who
succeeded him (Dt 10:6, Lev 1:5).

> I would be very, very careful if I were in your position James. People’s
>lives are being affected by what you are teaching. I hope you realize the
>consequences of what you seem to be imposing on others. And if you are NOT
>imposing it, then it just can’t be that important, now can it?

I tell women what the Bible teaches just like I would teach a woman not to
commit fornication. People’s lives are affected by having to give up
selling drugs or drinking alcohol. Christianity is all about changing
lives, David. I am surprised you have not noticed . There are things as
a Christian that I simply cannot do, and I may have to suffer the
consequences for it. Sometimes it may mean losing your job. That’s when
you see what a person’s commitment really is. You think Tina is crazy
because you do not believe the Bible teaches what she believes. She has
thought the matter out at length and she is remaining stedfast to her
convictions. God will take care of her. She has grown children and they,
if nobody else, will help her. God will likely provide another job for her,
but if not, she will get by somehow. Christianity is not, after all, a
matter of getting rich, but of getting to heaven. It IS important to act in
consort with your convictions.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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