Love Your God With All Your Mind (book review)

“Many people become bored with the Bible precisely because their overall intellectual growth is stagnant. They cannot get new insights from Scripture because they bring the same old categories to Bible study and look to validate their old habits of thought.”(page 80) Rarely does an author specifically pinpoint an area in my personal life, like the quote above, and write it in such a way that I comically wonder if he has been reading my thoughts. Yet, that is exactly what J.P. Moreland does in Love God With All Your Mind and when an author does that, I sit up and start paying attention very closely. Moreland is no stranger to writing on the intellect. Having made a career out of studying and teaching philosophy and apologetics (earning a PhD in Philosophy and serving as professor of philosophy at Talbot Theological Seminary), Moreland takes us on a tour behind the scenes of the mind to help us grasp what it means to love the Lord with all of our mind. Continue reading

Should Women Be Pastors? (part five of five)

Read part one here.

Women in ministry: a complementarian vision

            There are several considerations to ponder as I unpack this vision: 1) There is far more freedom than restriction on what ministries women can participate in, 2) there will be gray areas,  and 3) when in doubt, remember God’s grace. With extreme views on both sides being given, a good dose of reality is in order so as to maintain a Biblical balance between seemingly contradictory truths. Instead of jumping to one side or another, we need to do as my theology professor, Dr. Russ Moore at Southern Seminary, suggested we do: implement theological triage. Just as in an emergency room at a hospital, there may be two patients that have need of medical attention, but the one that is closer to a life or death situation takes precedent. Similarly, we need to understand that, on the one hand, we don’t believe women should teach men authoritatively in the public church assembly, but women do teach men in the Christian life and it can be a good thing. This is not a contradiction, but two things that are true and exist in reality. As long as you understand which truth takes doctrinal priority, there will be no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. As my pastor always says, heresy is born out of one truth taken to its extreme without the counterbalance of other seemingly opposite truths. This is how I can work alongside (not at the same church, mind you) women pastors who believe in the inerrancy of scripture and exclusivity of the gospel. The latter two truths take precedent over the fact that she is a woman pastor. Continue reading

Should Women Be Pastors? (part four of five)

Read part one here.

Controversial passages of scripture

              The two passages of scripture that are most often quoted by both sides are 1st Corinthians 14:34, 35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15.  Without a doubt these passages are where the focal point of this whole debate. But, before we can get to them, we have to deal with what each side claims as their pressupositional proof texts: the proof text that colors their interpretation of both of the above-mentioned passages. I am speaking of Galatians 3:28, the foundational verse for egalitarians, and Ephesians 5:22, the foundational verse for complementarians. It is those two verses, not the ones in 1st Corinthians and 1st Timothy, which drive the conflict between the two groups. Continue reading

Should Women Be Pastors? (part three of five)

Read part one here.

Controversial Examples In Scripture

Since history cannot give us answers, we must then turn to the Bible and to the passages of scripture that each side claims for its own purposes. Before we venture into those passages, we must mark and avoid some red herrings. One common fallacy egalitarians commit is “proof by example”.  They look to examples in history of women pastors to show that women pastors (I guess by their mere existence) are ordained by God. What is also common is when egalitarians look to women in leadership in the Bible as proof that somehow God allows and even wants women to take up the role of pastor. The standard egalitarian method is to start in Genesis first and work through the Bible until you get to the Pauline epistles. Since there are very few verses of scripture outside the Pauline epistles that deal with this issue directly, the egalitarian must look to the stories of women in the Old and New Testament as an axiom in which to build a worldview.[1] Continue reading

Should Women Be Pastors? (part two of five)

Click here for part one.

Church History: Does it support the idea of women pastors?

Tom Shcreiner quotes C.S. Lewis when he said, “Nonetheless, evangelicals must beware of what C.S. Lewis called ‘chronological snobbery’”[1] The old saying is also true: “If we do not learn from history, history is doomed to repeat itself.”  Since both sides of the women pastor issue believe that our doctrine is orthodox and can be traced back through Christian history, then surely we can learn something from past theologians and pastors who spoke on this issue. After all, if it turned out that the vast majority of respected men and women of God, in different cultures and theological persuasions, believed universally (or near-universally) that women can or even should be allowed to pastor a church, then at the very least, it should cause the complimentarian to reevaluate his position. Continue reading

Should Women Be Pastors? (part one of five)

This is an in-depth, academic research paper on the topic: Should women be pastors? To restate the title in a less controversial way: What does God expect of women in the church?  I will present this paper in five parts. Look at the bottom of each entry to click on the next part.

For reasons known only to God, He decided to make humans male and female. And since the moment Adam and Eve sinned, humans have had a marred opinion of the nature and role of each gender. In the secular West, opinion on the role of man and woman is at best muddled. However, the goal of feminists in the secular West has been very clear: give women every single opportunity a man has had and make sure the population believes the only difference between genders is cosmetic and nothing more. In recent years, the secular West has aimed its feminist guns at the evangelical community and demanded to know why we have not been supportive of their goals. Since nothing is more visible than the lack of women pastors, critics have accused evangelicals of being archaic, obsolete, or even dangerous.  The Washington Post reported on a story about an Episcopalian priestess designing a Barbie doll dressed like a priestess. The columnist, Elizabeth Tenety, remarked that the timing of this production is impeccable (with another article in Newsweek exploring the idea that, had women been allowed in the upper-echelon of the Catholic Church, the child abuse among priests would not have been as rampant[1].  Tony Campolo, in regards to believing women shouldn’t be pastors, went so far as to say, “when women are gifted with the gift of preaching, anybody who frustrates that gift is an instrument of the devil.”[2] Continue reading

Apologetic Implications of the Noetic Effects of Sin Part 4 of 4

The way in which he showed the evidence for the gospel was not in a matter of probability, but of full assurance. Verse 31 says “…having furnished proof to all men by raising him from the dead.” The greek phrase for “proof” is pistin paraschon.  Its meaning, Robertson said, is “like a note or title-deed, a conviction resting on solid basis of fact.”[1]  This “solid basis of fact” is why many translations, such as the King James and the English Standard, use the phrase “given full assurance” instead of “furnished proof”. Continue reading

Apologetic Implications of the Noetic Effects of Sin Part 3 of 4

Not everyone agrees with this interpretation of Romans one. In his article on presuppositionalism, one particular classical apologist says that the phrase “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” is more an emotive or attitudinal effect of sin rather than a noetic effect.[1]  This argument, however, is self-defeating. Continue reading