Historic theologian on women in the church

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by anglican74, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    From https://reformedcovenanter.wordpress.com/2020/07/21/david-dickson-on-women-in-the-church/

    ——

    Vers. 34. Let your Women keep silence in the Churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience: as also saith the Law.

    Precept 5. Whereby he forbids that Women should speak in the Church, i. e. teach publicly, or propound questions, because subjection is appointed in the Word of God, for the Sex of Women, Gen. 3.16. requires.

    Vers. 35. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their Husbands at home: for it is a shame for Women to speak in the Church.

    That he might prevent an Objection, he commands them to learn at home privately of their Husbands, or elsewhere, that which they would demand publicly, adding another reason of the Precept, because it is unseemly that a Woman should speak in the Church.

    David Dickson, An exposition of all St. Paul’s epistles together with an explanation of those other epistles of the apostles St. James, Peter, John & Jude: wherein the sense of every chapter and verse is analytically unfolded and the text enlightened (London: Francis Eglesfield, 1659), pp 64-65.

    ——

    What are we to make of this?
     
  2. AnglicanUSGirl2

    AnglicanUSGirl2 New Member

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    I think it is saying that women do have roles as caretakers and teachers in the church, but not as priests, because the women will not spiritually thrive in priestly roles. I personally don't support the idea of women priests: I believe God set down certain gender roles for us, and if we start to blur those roles, it starts to confuse us spiritually.
     
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  3. Ananias

    Ananias Member Anglican

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    Read straight, it obviously supports the orthodox position that women may not be ordained as priests or bishops. But this passage does not clarify much regarding WO and the role of women in the Anglican church.

    In the Anglican church, for example, the diaconate is an ordained office. Yet the Bible provides scriptural support for females in the diaconate (Rom 16:1-2, possibly 1 Tim 3:11). We also have extra-biblical support for female deacons in the Christian church (Pliny the Younger's letter to the Emperor Trajan). The question here is, of course, if the role of "deacon" in the ancient church is the same as the ordained office of Deacon in the Anglican church. Anglicans of goodwill may differ on whether ordainment of women into the diaconate is acceptable, but I think honesty compels us to admit that female Deacons are not heterodox. The argument is over what the greek word διάκονος (diakonos) really means, and this aspect of the ancient church remains fairly obscure...and thus open to speculation. To further elaborate the point: if the Apostle Paul did not consider Phoebe to be an actual deacon, it seems to me that he would have used the word ἄγγελος* (angelos, messenger) or δοῦλος (doulos, servant) to describe her. It is clear that he trusted her and held her in high regard.

    In a larger sense, the real question is about females in Christian ministry. What are the rules in this brave new world? Does "church" mean only when Christians are assembled together in a congregation under the leadership of a pastor? Can women proselytize? Can they preach outside the confines of the church? How about doing apologetics? Is a YouTube ministry, for example, a "church"? Is preaching the same as teaching? Are men allowed to read Christian apologetic or theology books written by women?

    How are women to to exercise their spiritual gifts in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ? For surely it would be a sin to prevent them from doing so, insofar as doing so would not run against scriptural prohibitions.

    I think there's a danger of becoming a Pharisee regarding the role of women in the church. I believe and affirm that women are not permitted to be priests or bishops according to scripture. At the same time I think it is not only allowed but necessary and praiseworthy that women be allowed opportunity and authority to exercise their God-given spiritual gifts.

    All are one in Christ. (Gal 3:28)

    *ἄγγελος κυρίου (angelos kyriou) means "angel of the Lord", but ἄγγελος can just mean "messenger", e.g. Luke 7:24
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's not really obscure if we take the Church Fathers into account. They also read the Scriptures; they read the same passages you cite, and incorporated them into daily life. Thus they did consecrate women into this office. However they did not call it "woman deacon", but rather, "deaconess", that is to specify that it's a different sort of thing from what the male deacons were ordained into.

    "Ordain also a deaconess who is faithful and holy, for the ministrations towards women. For sometimes [the bishop] cannot send a deacon, who is a man, to the women, on account of unbelievers. Thou shalt therefore send a woman, a deaconess, on account of the imaginations of the bad. For we stand in need of a woman, a deaconess, for many necessities; and first in the baptism of women, the deacon shall anoint only their forehead with the holy oil, and after him the deaconess shall anoint them: for there is no necessity that the women should be seen by the men"
    -Apostolic Constitutions, III.15, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.iv.ii.html


    However, we also know that those deaconesses were not considered as in the same holy orders as the men, and for all intents and purposes were seen as laity. Canon XIX of the Council of Nicea says:
    "We mean by deaconesses those who as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity."
    -Council of Nicea, canon XIX, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.vii.vi.xxviii.html

    And that is why in many of the Anglican jurisdictions you will find the institution of the Deaconess even today (it was revived in the 1800s). In the REC we do not accept the ordination of women, but have a very flourishing Deaconess ministry:
    "The Order of Deaconesses": https://recdss.org/
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I can see the reasoning for ordaining deaconesses. Ordaining priestesses is another matter entirely! :preach:
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Do you call female doctors doctresses then Rexlion. You know perfectly well priestesses are an entirely different kettle of religious fish and the church has never ever had 'em because they are pagan and not Christian. Do you refer to female police officers as police officeresses too. :laugh: I hope you are at least consistent in your prejudices. :book:
     
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  7. Ananias

    Ananias Member Anglican

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    Oh come now. We say "Master" and "Mistress", we say "Hero" and "Heroine", we say (or at least used to) "Aviator" and "Aviatrix", we say "Comedian" and "Comedienne". "Dominator" and "Dominatrix". English (like Greek and Latin and many other languages) is a gendered language and has many gendered nouns...but many nouns are not gendered, "doctor" and "officer" being among them.

    Example: a man or a woman may be a President, but only a man may be a King. (For if it were a woman, she would be a Queen.)

    You're arguing grammar, not theology.
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Example: a man or a woman may be a President, but only a man may be a King. (For if it were a woman, she would be a Queen.)

    But they can both be equally Sovereign and both Rulers and Heads of State. It is often not necessary to include gender information when describing a profession.
    .
     
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  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. There's a different word for the female ruler than for the male ruler. And the fact that the word "queen" became popular instead of "kingess" is quite beside the point. :p

    If the early church had ordained female priests, I have little doubt that they very well might have called them "priestesses." But they didn't ordain female priests. And that is the point. (Condolences to your wife, I'm sure she's a sweet and lovely person.)
     
  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The early church did not even have ordained male priests. It had Apostles, Leaders, Teachers, Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons but not 'Priests'. Priests and priestesses were Jews or Pagans, not Christians. The visible church became progressively less governed the way Jesus and his Apostles would have had it and secular misogyny gradually took over along with many other abuses which multiplied until the Reformation and have still not been completely reformed back to the New Testament early Church Principles intended originally by Jesus Christ. The further it got from the Day of Pentecost the more corrupt it became until 15 centuries later something just HAD to be done. Even the Reformation didn't completey fix the visible church though, unfortunately.

    Probably why it feebly struggles while they [the saints] in glory shine.
    Yet all are one, (male or female), in [thee] for all are [thine] i.e. His - Jesus. Alleluia, alleluia.
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  11. Ananias

    Ananias Member Anglican

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    You are asserting many things which you have not proved (neither here nor in the many, many other threads where you have made the same unsupported claims).
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    My, my, you've done a lot of reading since you recently turned up in here.
     
  13. Ananias

    Ananias Member Anglican

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    I always do my homework.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Who marks yours then? :laugh: :clap:
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    What Law? Anyone care to quote chapter and verse? No?

    Anyone care to quote Paul saying elsewhere that ' The Law ' must be obeyed and all are under obedience to it? I think he mostly says pretty much the opposite doesn't he. He was pretty strong on obedience to The Spirit as I recall.
     
  16. Ananias

    Ananias Member Anglican

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    Gen 2:20-24, 1 Cor 11:8-9
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

    “This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called Woman,a]">[a]
    because she was taken out of Man.”b]">[b]

    24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    Read full chapter
    Footnotes
    1. Genesis 2:23 Heb ishshah
    2. Genesis 2:23 Heb ish
    8 (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)

    Don't look much like LAWS to me.

    Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

    As Crocodile Dundee might say "Now THAT'S what you call a LAW." :laugh:
    .
     
  18. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    But don't forget the Queen is the Duke of Lancaster.
     
  19. Ananias

    Ananias Member Anglican

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    The entirety of the Pentateuch is "The Law". The Jewish people call the five books of Moses the Torah, which is the Hebrew word for Law. Paul, who had been (let's not forget) a Pharisee, would have referred to the Pentateuch in this way.
     
  20. tstor

    tstor Member

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    That is a bit contentious. It seems quite clear that there were female priests in the early church. They were, however, not common.