A discussion on "Silent Women"

Hello, Anthony!
Thanks for your comments about my 'Pentecost' article.  I can certainly sympathize with what you went through in the Pentecostal context.  I think we all have a tendency to go to extremes, or to manifest a herd-mentality (mindlessly following what others say to do, or are doing).  One crucial matter is not to allow past bad experiences keep us from being open to what the "truth" may be in Jesus Christ.  As you know, most error is just an aspect of truth pushed out of proportion.
In my personal journey I have seen repeatedly the importance of sorting out what the New Testament actually teaches, versus the traditions that have been added on, or the negative influence of baggage that we read into texts.
I would take strong exception to what E. Elliot said.  I think it can be shown that divorce and homosexuality occur fairly equally in traditions that hold to male leadership and those that don't.  Also, moral lapses are just as frequent among those who "uphold the 10 Commandments" as among those who take a different position.  Just confessing a certain theological viewpoint does not in any way guarantee immunity from moral problems.
It cannot be denied that the NT connects certain words with the marriage relationship.  But did the NT mean by those words what post-apostolic theologians attached to them?  For example, most assume that "male headship" means that the husband has "the final word."  But I can't square that notion with what Paul clearly taught in 1 Cor.7:1-5.  In my paper on 1 Tim.2, I note these things:

As an aside, it is crucial to note that the only place in the New Testament where the word “authority” is connected to gender is in 1 Cor.7:1-7.  Interestingly, in this passage the “authority” (exousia) mentioned has nothing to do with the husband being the boss of the wife.  Instead, it is a mutual authority – neither the man nor the woman has “authority” over their own body.  The wife has authority over her husband’s body, and the husband has authority over his wife’s body.   An implication of this truth is that the two cannot separate from one another physically unless they mutually agree [symphonou, be in symphony] that this should be done.  Many take “male headship” to mean that the husband has “the final say.”  But how could that be in light of 1 Cor.7:1-7?  The husband, Paul teaches here, cannot unilaterally announce, “We are going to be physically separated for awhile.”  Such action can only take place if they mutually agree on it.  If this is the case in an important issue like physical separation, one would assume that the goal in marital decision-making is for the couple to be one-minded.  In light of this passage what “male headship” actually entails needs to be revisited (p.8).


We apparently assume that "male headship" means "authority over" and connect it with decision-making.  But in the first century it was the "heart," not the "head" that was connected with decision-making, and there is much evidence to suggest that "authority over" was generally not connected to the concept of "head" (cf. Lauren Fasullo's article on "Kephale" [head] attached).


Again, many assume that male headship means virtual non-expression of the wife's gifts.  However, Scripture does not confirm such a lop-sided opinion.  Both Huldah and Deborah were functioning prophetesses, but that did not keep them from being godly wives, as their husbands' names are mentioned.


Most people are in ignorance of a vastly significant historical reality.  Paul indeed used the words "head" and "submission" with reference to husbands and wives.  There is, however, a huge chasm between what Paul had in mind with those words and how they were misappropriated and merged into the "mind-body dualism of classical Greek philosophy" by the early church fathers in order to utterly suppress women in home and church (Joy Bussert, Battered Women, LCA, 1986, p.6).  Males were connected with the "mind" (spirituality) and females were connected to the "body" (carnal life).  Thus the "goal of salvation was to free the pure soul from the evil material body" (Bussert, p.7).  Following from this, female sexuality was viewed as "responsible for the Fall of creation and the descent of man's soul into perdition" (Bussert, p.7).  Viewing women with disdain as the conduits for sin led of necessity to their subordination to males.  "Since femaleness was equated with the inferior body, it followed that woman must naturally live in submission to man in hierarchical fashion, even as the body must be subject to the spirit, in the right ordering of the Christian life" (Bussert, p.9).


This degradation of females led not a few theologians to question whether they were in God's image.  Further, since women were seen as "lower beings," husbands were granted the right to correct or chastise their wives.  This "gave religious and legal sanction for the absolute control of the 'male mind' over the 'female body,' in the form of physical violence" (Bussert, p.12).  Thus a perverted theology led to the church's sanctioning of wife-beating.


This vile outlook on women was engrained in the theology of the Roman Catholic Church, and is amply documented in Uta Ranke-Heinemann's Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality, & the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 1990,360pp.).  It is imperative to keep in mind that the very essence of the assumptions about women in traditional theology are suspect, to say the least. To link Paul's conceptions of "head" and "submission" with what is articulated in Turtullian, Augustine, Jerome and many others about females is a total disconnect.  There is no continuity of Paul's teaching with the later Platonic anti-body theology that emerged in the visible church.


Anthony, I would encourage you to be open-minded and read all of Lauren's article, and my article on 1 Tim.2:11-15.  Intellectual honesty demands that we look closely at what the NT actually says, and not take our cues from tainted traditions.


Thanks for any feedback you wish to give!   Jon 


Hi, Mr. Zens,

      I just read through most of your article "Were Women Silent at Pentecost ? " . I did not have to go very far into it to catch the  gist of your position !   I used to belong to a denomination that did not have role distinctions in the assembly  which transferred to the home setting also !  They would also encourage the wife's with children that it was ok for both mates to be bread winners because of the " Freedom " that the New Testament offered over the Old , and that In Christ there was neither male or female..... as stated in Galatians, of course with their twist on the interpretation .   It was a Pentecostal denomination which had been started by a women, so as you can see we were really liberated !  They also ( in my estimation ) twisted other scripture and encouraged birth control  since the " Old Testament  Command  To Be Fruitful and Multiply" was "Not Applicable For Today " !

   It  had also been " Fulfilled in Christ Jesus " and it was up to us now to determine our family size ! - Thanks Margaret Sanger !   I wish I had read the book  " The Bible and Birth Control "  and  " A Full Quiver "  back then,  maybe I wouldn't have gotten Hep " C
 " ,  one of the autoimmune responses to  vasectomies -  that I was encouraged to have done !    Some time much latter after God had delivered me from this denomination,  I had also read  in a book on male female role issues,  where Elizabeth Elliot had stated, that the denominations that do not accept the Biblical role model distinction of male only leadership ( Under Christ as Head of Course) suffered a considerable amount more divorces and homosexuality than that of others.  I myself suffered from that scenario after going through a bitter divorce, because I wanted my wife to stay home to help raise our two children but " according to our so called liberated pastor's "   I should not restrict her or stop her if " That Was What God Was Calling Her To Do "  !!!   By the way , I was making almost sixty thousand a year, with only a relatively small home mortgage that was well within our budget, and no other debts, and this was back in the late 70's - early eighties -  pretty good money back then !   We also had allot of our closest friends marriages start to drop as flies who also had been married for quite some time and had children also !   We had all moved over to a sister church to " Revive a Work "   there !   Some Revival !!!   I wish I had read Jay E. Adams materials back then especially ( Marriage Divorce and Remarriage in The Bible ) ! 

    Ok, so you might ask why did I stated all of that ?   It's because I and countless others have experience the devastation of the " Gender Neutral " movement !   

Now I realize that you might not be taking it Quite that far but I would ask you to please either read some articles or listen to some of the free streaming audio teachings ,from ( What I believe ),  are some of the best teachings on this subject, from both men and women I might ad !   Their Website can be found at  - http://www.cbmw.org   ( The Council On Biblical Manhood And Womanhood ).   
      I Realize that their have been many abuses on both sides of this issue, but I believe God's Biblical ways are the most Loving, Protective,  Fulfilling, and God Honoring for both men and women of God ! Thanks For Asking  " What do you think  " at the end of your article and I would appreciate to her back from you also !  
For His Kingdom's Sake, 

Anthony Cannone Jr.