July 2, 2017: Reframing the Role of Women

This is not about feminism nor women’s rights. This is not about whether or not women should be pastors or ordained (and there really are so many other issues in that statement).

And we understand that many, many women look and act a certain way when it comes to the church because they want to honor God or project a Godly image. Their intentions are pure. 

But there is a spirit of deceit behind any people group in Christ being placed lower than another people group, or not being permitted to function fully according to their new identity in Christ.

This is about the Lord’s truth in how ALL (men and women) in Christ move and function and live and are.

Once again, we need to start before the beginning.

Imagine for a moment God the Father before time and creation. He’s thinking to Himself, and His thoughts are of His Son and are His Son. He wants a companion for His beloved Son, a bride.

God the Father thinks to Himself, “I’ll make human men. They will be my imagers and will fill the earth with my Son. They will be an expression of my Son in the physical realm. They will be fruitful. They will multiply and fill the earth with my Son. They will subdue the earth. They will have dominion over the creatures of the earth. These men will live their lives for Me and My Son. They will yield to Us and We will live through them. Our nature will be made manifest through them. They will be an essential part of My Son being all and in all.

“And I’ll make man a companion, woman. They will be my imagers and will fill the earth with my Son. They will be an expression of my Son in the physical realm. They will be fruitful. They will multiply and fill the earth with my Son. They will subdue the earth. They will have dominion over the creatures of the earth. These women will live their lives for Me and My Son. They will yield to Us and We will live through them. Our nature will be made manifest through them.

“You know, actually I think I’ll limit the expression of My Son in some of these imagers. These women ones will not be my expression in front of the men imagers. And when they corporately gather to lift up My Name, this half of my human imagers should be silent and not make manifest the glory of My Son. Half the group expressing His Life and Glory should be sufficient.”  

“That’s not true, R.C.!”

Who would desire for the Son of God to be made manifest less? Who would want to interfere with the full expression of the ekklesia? Who would want to stunt the gifts that half the Body possesses? The Father of Truth and Life (who is all about the Son and the ekklesia) or the Father of Lies and Death (who is all about diminishing the Son and disrupting, dividing, and deceiving the ekklesia)? Does this sound like something that comes from our heavenly Father or from Satan?

Genesis 3:16To the woman he said,“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

The fall created a power struggle of man ruling over women and vice versa.

BUT CHRIST creates within Himself a new creation where there is no fall, no lording over each other. There is only one loaf, one body, one new humanity that operates completely different with equality and mutual submission of all, to each other.  

THE “LIMITING HIS EXPRESSION” PROBLEM

Would this God, who wants everything to express His Son and to fill all things with His Son through human imagers, prefer to limit those who can openly and freely express Him by half? Does this seem like a God who wants LESS of the Eternal Word made manifest? Does this seem like a God who wants to RESTRICT the expression of His Son?

But this is exactly what happens when we tell or infer half of the believers (women) that they should not act under a prompting of the Spirit in many situations. Instead, words like “silence” and “no authority” are put out there. And these teachings are called scriptural.

Do women not have the same Spirit within them? Or is it some lesser spirit? (As if there is more than one Spirit of Christ.) Do they not have the same Life flowing out of them (which is Christ)? Or are they not indwelt by the same Savior? Does it not fit the purposes of the Father that His Son should be expressed and glorified through all His people (men and women, Jew and Gentile)?

And what about the “royal priesthood”? Peter was addressing all the exiles of the dispersion, not just the men, so women are part of the priesthood.

THE “GREEK PHILOSOPHY” PROBLEM

In Greek Philosophy, mind-body dualism was an influential philosophy of Plato. The mind was considered superior to the body. The mind was associated with the soul and spirituality and the body was associated with carnal lusts. Men were believed to be the sex that possessed the greater mind, whereas women were associated with the lesser, inferior body. Therefore, men were considered more “spiritual” than women.

“Flowing from this, female sexuality came to be viewed as ‘responsible for the Fall of creation and the descent of man’s soul into perdition.’ 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.’” (Jon Zens, Joy Bussert)

“The ancient Greek world through the time of Paul commonly believed that the heart, not the head, was the center of emotions and spirit, the ‘central governing place of the body.’ Aristotle held that the heart was not only the seat of control but also the seat of intelligence. Classicist Michael Wigodsky of Stanford is probably correct that many, even the doctors with the most advanced anatomical understanding of the brain, did not really believe that the brain exerted more control over the body than the heart. Such a notion seemed to contradict the nearly universal belief that, since the life is in the blood, the heart must be the center of life. Thus, it is hardly surprising that the idea of authority was not normally associated with the word for ‘head’ in Greek thought.”[l0] – Philip Payne, “Response,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. AIvera Mickeisen, pp. 119-120.

Passages that have silenced half of Christ for centuries

1 Corinthians 11:1-16

11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone is disposed to be contentious—we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

WHAT ABOUT TIMOTHY? (addressing 1 Timothy 2)

(47) Paul is set apart (along with Barnabas) by the Spirit and the church at Antioch to carry the Name of Jesus to the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

(50) Paul picks up Timothy in Lystra. Timothy is with Paul when the churches are established in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Paul spends three years in Ephesus and Timothy is still with him.

(62) About six years later, he writes a letter to Timothy regarding the church in Ephesus, where Paul is leaving Timothy to address some issues in the church. He has known Timothy for at least 12 years now.

Does it make sense that Paul is choosing this moment to let Timothy into an eternal insight into the functioning of women in the church after 12 years of working together, after establishing at least four churches together? Don’t you think this might have come up sometime in the 12 years before if what Paul writes about in 1 Timothy is something that applies to all churches for all time?

–OR–

Is it not much more feasible (and culturally and historically reinforced) that Paul was addressing a specific issue in that church in that season?

“There is nothing inherently wrong with women-teaching-men, but it is a problem when women teach error, or teach in an attempt to get their way with men. Of course, the same concerns hold true if males teach error or teach with the goal of dominating others!” -Jon Zens

SPIRITUAL INSTINCTS

“The indwelling Spirit gives every believer Divine instincts and impulses that are just as real as our physical senses. Because the Spirit and the Scripture are born out of Divine inspiration, the leading of the Spirit will never contradict Scripture. Nor will the Scripture contradict the instincts of the Spirit.” -Frank Viola

So, what are your spiritual instincts telling you? Try setting aside cultural and personal biases that run on either side of this issue and check your spirit. If you are not sure, ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you.

“The ekklesia submits to her Husband [who is Jesus], but Christ’s purpose is not to silence His people, but to see all of the gifts of His Bride blossom and come to full expression.” – Jon Zens

Resources:

What’s with Paul and Women? by Jon Zens  

Reimagining a Woman’s Role in the Church by Frank Viola (free article)

Man and Woman, One in Christ by Philip B. Payne

The Black Swan Effect by Felicity Dale

Blog Posts

Kephale by Jon Zens

CONFINED TO THE KITCHEN? The Lord Doesn’t Put Women in This Box by Jon Zens

The Body With Part One by Jon Zens

God’s View of Women by Frank Viola

3 thoughts on “July 2, 2017: Reframing the Role of Women”

  1. I’m sad to hear you are not going to be on the air for much longer. I have listened to all your programs, some of them multiple times. Your discussions have been enlightening and encouraging. I’ve been very interested in the authentic church expression ever since I first read some of Frank Viola’s work back in 2014. I’ve also gone through periods of discouragement, trying “home church” with a few people which turned into just a Bible study for a season, so I began to even doubt that it was really possible to have the kind of church life like I would hear Frank describing. Hearing you all speak has given me a tiny glimpse of it, not only your stories of church life but hearing the way you share with each other on this show, I never hear any other Christians that speak so often and so deeply and lovingly of our Lord.

    In regards to women in the church, I’ve also greatly enjoyed hearing the three women on this show share! It has been a rare experience for me to find women who want to share Christ together and I think it is largely because of the notion that we are “lesser” but also because it seems women can find so many other things to put their identities in and their focus on, motherhood being a big one. It has been a blessing hearing from Bridget, Allison and Carrie who are everyday women sharing profound things and the way you all let each other share without interrupting one another!

    I’m personally hoping you’ll continue to do a podcast, but I know it is not about me, the Lord is in control and up to something.

  2. I am also sad to hear this is coming to an end. It has been so rich to “sit in” on your time together. Thank you all so much for following the Lord. You have been water in a dry and thirsty land to me.

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