A Biblical Examination of the Original Doctrinal Statement of the “Christians for Biblical Equality”
This section, which includes points 7-10, attempts to prove from the Bible that women can and ought to be deacons, elders and preachers. It begins:
Point 7. “The Bible teaches that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on men and women alike. Without distinction, the Holy Spirit indwells women and men, and sovereignly distributes gifts without preference as to gender (Acts 2:1–21; 1 Cor 12:7, 11, 14:31).”
The key phrase is “without preference as to gender”. But the proof texts do not support this. Just because women have the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit does not mean that He gives the gifts of the Spirit without reference to the sex of the recipient. Elders and deacons must be men, or they could not be required to be “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2,12; Ti 1:6) so there is no reason to suppose that women are ever given the gift of government in the church. Moreover, the clear and full instructions of Paul, which the feminists want to hide from our view, preclude any woman from even speaking in the meetings of the church. How then can they be officers? It is absurd.
It is unfortunate for them that they extract a text from 1 Cor 14; for it draws attention to a part of Scripture that they would be advised to stay away from, as we shall see. Verse 31 reads:
“For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.”
Notice the word, “all” which occurs three times. Paul uses the word, “all”, so (they say) it means women as well as men may prophesy in the church. But the word “all” should always be interpreted in the light of its context. After his completion of the instructions on the use of public gifts in the church, Paul immediately follows with the words:
“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. 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.” (1Co 14:34-35)
The meaning of this is obvious. Lest anyone think that he was using the word, “all” (Gr. pas) in verse 31 in a sense that includes females, he states in clear, forceful, and unequivocal language a universal prohibition of women engaging in any of the activities discussed in verses 26-33. The expression “Let your women” implies that the men of the church are to govern their women, and to keep them from speaking. This is a clear proof of the inequality of the sexes.
The force of this passage is remarkable. Notice the repetition of the same command in three ways, to avoid any possible misunderstanding:
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
A further argument, and a powerful one, is contained in the words,”as also saith the law”. Two truths can be inferred form this phrase. The first is, that the moral law of the Old Testament is still in force. If this were not true, then the argument from its authority would fail. Second, the law speaks to this issue, or else Paul would never use it in this controversy. Where does the law say that women are to be subordinate to men? In every institution of the law of Moses, women are implicitly placed under male authority. Hebrew culture was consistently patriarchal.
But specifically, I believe that he has reference to his previous discussion of the subject in Chapter 11 of this same epistle, in which his doctrine of the superior status of men is based on the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman. One thing is certain: if Paul tells us that the law supports his teaching, then it does. He is an inspired apostle, giving normative teaching for all the churches.
Then, the women are told:
“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home“
Does this need explanation?
Finally, they are warned that the violation of this rule would be a “shame”. The word is stronger in the original. It is equivalent to “an abomination”.
“for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
It would be impossible to overturn the commandment contained in these two verses. It is a signpost set deep in the ground with cement. It was put there to guide travelers surely in the right path. Any one who says that the whole tenor of Scripture runs counter to the interpretation I have found, self-contained in these verses, is simply wrong. This plain, natural, grammatical interpretation cannot be overthrown by any sophistry that man can devise. And it destroys the whole foundation and superstructure of so-called “Christian feminism”!
But there is more! Paul is not finished. Knowing the hardness of the human heart; and especially the tendency in women to usurp authority over the man, he gives a stinging rebuke intended for anyone who would presume to reject his teaching:
“What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man (anyone) think himself (or herself) to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him (or her) acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (verses 36-38)
The parenthetical words indicate that the neuter gender is used in these places. He is not only rebuking men, but women as well.
Listen to the word of God, you Scripture twisters! Repent of your stubborn resistance to its plain truth! Christian feminism, like all egalitarian dogmas, was born in Hell, invented for the purpose of overturning the God-ordained order of church and society. There is no truth whatever in the assertion that God distributes His gifts without respect to sex.
Howard Douglas King
January 31, 2020