OK, time to make a totally different group of people angry. Let me tell you some of the ways that I know that my views on gender differ from the traditional view. I’ll do it by quickly reviewing some of the main texts that usually come up in these discussions:
- I think that 1 Corinthians 11, where it talks about head coverings for women who pray and prophesy, is talking about a public setting. If not, why would they need the head coverings? The whole discussion seems to suppose a non-private context. I think that women in the first century prayed and prophesied in church, with full apostolic approval. I have no problem with women praying in public. What about prophesying? I think that’s most closely related to Scripture reading in today’s church, though some would interpret it more broadly.
- I think the “keep silent” passage in 1 Corinthians 14 related to a specific problem in the church in Corinth. Just as tongue speakers are told to keep silent and prophets are told to keep silent, the women who were interrupting with questions (to their husbands?) were told to be silent. Just as the prophet is reminded that his spirit is hupotasso, under obedience, so the woman is to practice hupotasso. The passage very much fits with the context, and that context is dealing with specific problems.
- I think that 1 Timothy 2 tells men to pray instead of arguing. It doesn’t say for men to pray instead of women praying.
- I also understand 1 Timothy 2 to speak of women learning in quietness (same word used in verse 2 of that chapter), not silence.
- I believe that 1 Timothy 3 allows for deaconesses in the church.
- I think that the church needs to emphasize the ministry of widows (1 Timothy 5) in the church as much as we do that of deacons/deaconesses.
OK, that’s a start. I plan to explore several of these ideas more, but I wanted to further reveal my views before we progress.