CBMW and dialogue

Over at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website ( a blog post was put up on October 28. The title of the post: “Never Apologize for God’s Truth.” The blog post is a discussion about my essay, “Some Reflections on the Role of Women in the Church: Pragmatic Issues,” posted at I thought it misrepresented my views in some serious ways, so I wrote a response. I had thought that that response would either get posted on the site (it wasn’t), would have caused the author to alter what he said (he didn’t), or at least have stimulated the writing of a letter to me from the CBMW folks (they weren’t). Regrettably, I have to post my response here, because of the one-sided story that was given at CBMW. Here’s what I wrote:

A friend sent me the blog that was posted at CBMW about my recent essay on the role of women, posted at I’m honored that my views would be considered worthy of discussing at CBMW. But I have to say, I think I was misrepresented.

Here’s what the blog post said, “Wallace responded by admitting that he could never embrace egalitarianism because it is clearly unbiblical; the text just does not support egalitarian claims…”

That’s far more than what I actually wrote on two fronts. First, nowhere in the essay did I say that I could never embrace egalitarianism. Not even close. Instead, what I said was that I could not go against my conscience and that, in my view, egalitarians were doing exegetical gymnastics. But even here I couched my statement with a note of personal perspective. Throughout the essay you will see qualifiers such as “For me at least,” “I think,” “probably,” etc. These points were mentioned specifically in relation to my exegetical certainty about the role of women in the church. Probably the strongest statement I made in terms of certainty was “I may not be comfortable with my complementarian position, but I am unwilling to twist scripture into something that it does not say. (I’m not saying that those who take an egalitarian position on this passage are willing to twist the scriptures! But I am saying that I think they are, in effect, probably doing this just the same.)”

Second, I did not say that egalitarianism was clearly unbiblical. Again, I couched all from my own perspective. As I concluded my essay, “after all the exegetical dust has settled, to deny some sort of normative principle to 1 Tim 2:12 is probably a misunderstanding of this text.”

I believe that the blogger got wrong his whole premise for the post because he assumed that I was certain in my exegesis and cowardly (or at least wishy-washy) in my behavior.

The irony here is that I was quoted out of context and misexegeted. I’m sure that some egalitarians will jump on this and say that complementarians do the same thing with scripture!

Allow me to clarify my view: Both since my exegesis is not certain and since this is not a central issue to the Christian faith, I cannot be as firm in my position or attitude as I can be on other issues. What is at stake here is one’s doctrinal and pragmatic taxonomy. The way the blogger wrote about my views it sounded as if he had a flatline in doctrinal nuancing. That, in my view, is not the healthiest way to think about scripture.

Daniel B. Wallace, PhD
Executive Director,
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

No Responses to “CBMW and dialogue”

  1. I have read your article and the blog post. By the way the link is bad.

    You kind of come across as a hostile witness, one would think CBMW would use that to their advantage :)

    I can see why Robinson said what he said, and I think his principle has merit. Though I think it unfair they do not give you a right of reply as your defence shows that your position is more nuanced than Robinson allows for. It is frustrating when others make claims for you but miss what you mean. Your comment explained it well:

    Both since my exegesis is not certain and since this is not a central issue to the Christian faith, I cannot be as firm in my position or attitude as I can be on other issues.

    An example of this (about an issue of even less centrality) could be the Nephalim. One may have studied the passage well hand come to a reasonably definitive conclusion on who the “sons of God were,” believe their conclusion but be uncomfortable with its implications, and also realise that it is of minor theological consequence.

    Of course the gender issue is bigger than the Nephalim issue, but for Robinson the gender issue may be very foundational and he is carrying over his weighing of the issue to yourself. You may see it as less important (than Robinson does) and other issues more so.

  2. Though I appreciate your honesty, I must say that I don’t have concerns about the complementarian system. While I could live with being an egalitarian if I thought that is what Scripture taught, that (I currently think) it teaches otherwise and many disagree is less of an issue.

    I disagree with my pastor about several issues and sit (reasonably) comfortably under his teaching, and respect him a great deal. I also find some people who agree with me about various issues to be embarrassing and give the issue a bad name. But I think we need to just assess the issues and hold them with confidence, hoping we are on the same side as God, knowing that some godly men may disagree with us and some poor exegetes may agree with us.

  3. With all you additional nuance what difference does it really make? A complimentarian is a complimentarian whether in “good” company or “bad”. And, an egalitarian is and eglatarian whether in “bad” company or “good”.

  4. 1. The CBMW blog apparently doesn’t allow comments.
    2. The blog wouldn’t publish your response.
    3. The blog wouldn’t update the inaccurate post based on either the true context of the quotes or your response which they received via e-mail.

    It doesn’t sound like they are either interested in conversation, integrity or the truth. As someone who agrees with their positions for the most part, I truly hope they have the class to respond to the situation, updating their post and publishing your response.

  5. Daniel

    I am a card-carrying egalitarian but can I just say that I am appalled at the way your comment were twisted, skewed and misrepresented

    I am afraid this is a failing that evangelicals on both sides of the fence fall into all too often.

    I for one, can appreciate that your argument was carefully thought out and well argued even if I may not be in agreement with your overall position.

    I am sorry that you were treated in such a way. You deserved much better.



  6. “As someone who agrees with their positions for the most part, I truly hope they have the class to respond to the situation, updating their post and publishing your response.

    Well said Ranger.

    It is important that we defend those with whom we may disagree, especially when they have been treated in a fairly shabby and dismissive manner, as has been the case here.

  7. since this is not a central issue to the Christian faith, I cannot be as firm in my position or attitude as I can be on other issues.

    on the nitpicky logic front……Sure you can. Simply because it is not a central issue, doesnt mean you cannot have a firm postion on it.

  8. Dr. Wallace,

    Sadly, this type of misrepresentation, rigidity in doctrinal matters, and downright dishonesty is extremely prevalent among many of these guys associated with and leaders of CMBW. More than once have I stumbled upon one of their adherents clearly and outright misrepresenting someone else’s view to their benefit (re:to make them look right). I find it quite heartbreaking that they require such an issue to be so divisive; their rhetoric is truly disturbing. I used to be in their camp, but they continue to lose more and more of my respect every single day because of stunts like this and because of their dishonesty with the totality of evidence. Just consider yourself as one among many who has been misrepresented by them, brother. Hope all is well!


  9. C Michael Patton November 7, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Are they in full approval of their bloggers? The reason I ask is because sometimes there is an implied footnote among community bloggers that the bloggers do not necessarily represent the ministry in every way. Maybe they will see this and respond appropriately.

  10. Allow me to nuance a few more things. Michael, you may well be right: bloggers at CBMW might not be representative of the ministry. If I recall, the post was originally anonymous, but the author’s name was attached to it the next time I saw it. I could be wrong though: I’ve been in excruciating pain for the past couple of weeks with a ruptured disc in my neck (which occurred in the UK, where I’ve been for ten weeks, photographing manuscripts). Had surgery on Tuesday and got home yesterday. I’m pretty drugged up, so I’m sure I’m not catching everything. And I’ve got more titanium in me than Iron Man!

    dac: you are quite right. I can have a firm position about more peripheral issues. I should flesh the point out however: if a topic discussed in the Bible is not central to the Christian faith, it may well have better chances of being discussed less and of not being articulated in scripture. In the case of the role of women in the church, I think this is largely true. The only place where women are explicitly told not to teach men is in 1 Tim 2:12. Now, my exegesis of that text is such that I end up in the complementarian camp. At the end of the day, I believe I understand what the text is saying–and I believe it is calling for some sort of normative principle, but egalitarians make several good points to ponder. Thus, precisely because this is not central to my faith and because I can understand how some decent exegetes can disagree, I choose to be more open in my attitude than in my posture. And that, according to Bruce Barron, is hardly hypocritical. This leads me to my final point.

    Michael has challenged us all with asking for people to think through a doctrinal taxonomy. The way I lay out my taxonomy is to have central (to die for) doctrines at the core, those that are important for the health of the church in the second tier, those that are necessary for the pragmatic outworking of a local body for the third tier, and those over which we should not get worked up over for the fourth tier. I place the role of women in the church in the second tier, but close to the edge of the third tier. That is, local bodies need to decide how to deal with this issue; otherwise, disorder reigns. But I also think that a church is healthier if it embraces complementarianism in some form.

    I hope this helps to clarify my views a bit.

  11. Dan,

    To look on the bright side, at least the blogger chose a decent pic – younger and lighter! ;)

    Sorry to hear of your health. You did well to cope with us all if you were in such pain then.

    And thanks for this. We never fail to learn from you – even in responses to misrepresentations!


  12. Mr. Wallace,

    I greatly appreciated your comments and your correction of the view that was misrepresented in the CBMW blog post.

    I also greatly appreciated that you do not place the issue of women in the church as being in the area of the essentials of Christian faith. CBMW certainly has gone to this essential realm as they place complementarianism as an essential element to discipleship and a failure to preach complementarianism as leading to a denial of the full gospel message. This position divides the church and leaves egalitarians as those who must repent or be found outside the true gospel. Any secondary issue of faith that divides the body of Christ in this way must be dealt with to stop the division that is hurting the church.

    Thank you for posting this. It is so good to see a complementarian who still has a heart of love and appreciation for his egalitarian brothers and sisters in Christ. I trust that one day you will find the exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 that will help you to see that there is a viable option that allows the passage to free women to serve the body of Christ without prejudice, and that will deal with all the contradictions that has caused New Testament women to be less free than the godly women in the Old Testament were who never had any God-given “law” that forbid them from teaching men.


  13. Drugged Scholar, actually, your surgery was on Wednesday, not Tuesday. But, that’s OK. Maybe you should take it easy for awhile. You just had surgery two days ago, and you are here, in a drug induced stupor. Why? ;)

    But, since you brought this up, I would like to know what your thoughts are about women occasionally teaching mixed adult SS classes. My impression is that you would not have a problem with this, because it doesn’t really involve taking a leadership position over men.

    And, you might want to think twice about one-upping Iron Man around here. You know Michael’s passion for super heros. Maybe you will become a new super hero…..Iron Indiana (?). Take out the flat tire, put in the spare, a titanium plate in the head, and your good to go!

    Michael, BTW, I found some Batman Die cast cars…. in various scales….. interested??

  14. Dan, now that I’ve read the article I’m not so sure you would be comfortable with women teaching an adult SS class. I mean that I’m guessing that your attitude would be to welcome rather than reject it, but you wouldn’t endorse it with policy (if that makes sense). (?)

    How about a woman speaking up in a discussion in an adult mixed class? It’s difficult, in that it says that a woman should remain silent.

    And interestingly, Paul Copan suggested to me today that I might consider teaching apologetics and evangelism at my church, and he offered to send me materials to work from. :)

  15. Cheryl, thanks for your kind comments. I agree with some of what you said, but not all (what would you expect? :-). Where I agree is in attitude: we must never treat any member of the body of Christ as a second-class citizen. I’m grieved that many complementarians have done just that. But it’s not essential to complementarianism. I know many, many complementarians who have lived out their beliefs the right way so that the women in their lives are fully respected, treated with dignity, granted all the freedoms that they believe that women should have, etc. And I have known many egalitarians who have treated women very badly. The worst culprits are egalitarian women themselves, believe it or not!

    What I have not mentioned in this post is the christological analogy for why I am a complementarian. I believe that the second person of the Trinity is functionally subordinate to the Father–and was so in eternity past, during his ministry on earth, and will be in eternity future. Thirty years ago I told my students that as egalitarianism continued to make inroads into evangelicalism it would at some point recognize that a subordinationist christology would be problematic for egalitarians. And when they did, they would alter a more central doctrine. Now, my memory may not be very good right now (because I’m taking some awesome heavy-duty drugs for my neck!), but I recall Gilbert Bilezikian publishing an article in JETS in 1997 entitled something like ‘theological bungee-jumping.’ It was, in my view, a poorly argued piece for functional equality between the Father and Son. Here’s my point: if it’s possible that the Godhead can have functional subordination without ontological subordination, then it may well be both possible that that is the case and even intended to be a model for men and women.

    At the same time, I take it that there are some legitimate grievances that women have had in complementarian churches and these need to be listened to. But while complementarians who are firm in their convictions may be unwilling to change how they do church on a theological level, they can and should think about what attitude they are conveying. I am reminded of texts such as Eph 5.25 (husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church) and 1 Peter 3.7 (husbands, … treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners, and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life). That text is actually out of place in 1 Peter; that is, it does not fit into the flow of the argument. Peter took a sidestep to address a problem in the churches, I believe. I think he’s saying that if Christian husbands don’t treat their wives as ontological equals, with all the respect that they would show the very best of men, then their prayers are not answered. Anything less is not fully Christian.

  16. Dr. Wallace.

    Your words are certainly mixed with grace as the scriptures instruct us and honestly I do not come across many complementarians who have been as gracious as you. I am not saying they are not out there, I just have had way too many who have been quick to damn me to hell or call me a heretic for believing differently on a secondary issue of faith. This saddens me greatly since all of us have something that we can teach each other and those who alienate members of the body of Christ like this must hurt Jesus terribly.

    As far as the Trinity goes, when I was a complementarian I believed that Jesus was equal in authority to the Father in the eternality of the Trinity. The incarnation is another matter.

    I am glad that you mentioned the Trinity. I just finished editing and producing a 2 DVD set on this issue which goes through the scriptures to prove the biblical revelation of who Jesus is in his place in the Trinity. A couple of preview clips are on youtube at

    I believe that this is a very important matter, something that should concern all of us. I was deeply dismayed to hear those who teach on the eternal subordination of Jesus taking this down the road of taking away Jesus’ authority to answer prayer. You will hear the quote for yourself in the clip.

    The question remains what does the Old Testament say about an eternal subordination and what does Eternity Future look like within the revelation of 1 Cor. 15:28? I would be honored to send you out a copy of the DVD set if you would be willing to look at the evidence and test it by the scriptures. If you are willing to do that, please contact me by email. My email address is mmoutreach (AT) gmail (DOT) com

    I also really appreciate the care for others that you clearly display and your willingness to admit that not everything may be set in stone for you. I have a copy of your New Testament Syntax and I now can attach an attitude of a real live person to it. That is such a blessing to me!

  17. Cheryl, thank you for your excellent response! Open and honest dialogue with believers of different persuasions is rare these days, but you are a superb model for it.

    To all readers of this thread: the author of the CBMW piece has modified what he wrote in light of my comments. I have not seen it, but I appreciate what he did. I thought you all should know.

  18. You wrote: “We must never treat any member of the body of Christ as a second-class citizen. I’m grieved that many complementarians have done just that. But it’s not essential to complementarianism. ”
    I simply do not understand the concept of unequal but not second-class. From my experience second-class is inherent in the idea of unequal.
    You wrote: “I know many, many complementarians who have lived out their beliefs the right way so that the women in their lives are fully respected, treated with dignity, granted all the freedoms that they believe that women should have, etc.”
    As a woman who has wrestled with this issue my entire adult life (30 plus years) I have come to believe that it is impossible to be fully respected by a man who believes it is his right (role, job, duty) to grant me freedoms I do not otherwise have solely because I am a woman and he is not.
    You wrote: “And I have known many egalitarians who have treated women very badly. The worst culprits are egalitarian women themselves, believe it or not!”
    I do not doubt that people who claim to hold an egalitarian position have sinned in how they relate to other people (including women) but to imply that their egalitarian position is responsible cannot be defended.

  19. Dr. Wallace,

    Thanks for your response and your further elaboration on your practical and logical lens adjustment on this issue.

    I also want to thank you and your team for your selfless efforts to preserve the Christian biblical textual tradition at CSNTM. Your neck injury deserves hazard pay – perhaps the wifey can provide.

    As a complementarian (as if I need this nomenclature to understand the social roles of men and women and children in the Church), it is invariably useful as God has seen fit not to overburden either sex with undue cares.

    Besides, within the Church structure, the teaching role of women is not nullified, but rather outlined and clearly defined as existing between other women and children.

    It should also be highlighted that the male role in teaching within the Church carries with it an almost immeasurable responsibility before God. So too, the role of the husband within the family nucleus.

    Again thanks and Godspeed.


  20. Daniel,

    I recommend Cheryl’s Trinity DVD set. It is jam packed with much to think about. She also has another DVD on Women in Ministry that is very insightful.

    I refer to your Beyond Basics book regularly.

    I appreciate your faith position, my term for it for me is a bull’s eye, there is a non-negotiable core, but there are also many things where we are to at worst “agree to disagree”. For these latter things, just because we might disagree does not mean the other is “not us” on the core things; to divide on the non-core issues harms the body of Christ.

    Don Johnson

  21. Minnow said

    “I simply do not understand the concept of unequal but not second-class. From my experience second-class is inherent in the idea of unequal.”

    Thankfully we look through the lens of scripture for the ideal rather than through the lens of experience, which can taint the picture every time, especially considering that its brushstrokes are created by flawed and fallen humans aiming at self-significance.

    Dr. Wallace, I think the Trinitarian model presents such a beautiful picture of orderly submission and mutual significance and is an excellent replica for our earthly ontological unity but separate functionality. Can you imagine Jesus or the Holy Spirit feeling inferior given their respective roles within the Godhead? As a woman and a leader in training, I can certainly emphasize with the egalitarian position. But for me, this divine model, in consideration of mandates of Scripture, serves as a reminder that none are second class citizens or insignificant within the body of Christ.

  22. Oh and I’m glad to see that you are up to these tasks, even in a drug-induced stupor :)

  23. Dr. Wallace,

    I skimmed through CBMW’s piece and didn’t see any changes. Maybe I need to go over it again because I must have missed something.


    The problem with seeing the eternality of the Trinity from the lens of the incarnation is that we put the emphasis on the voluntary humility of Christ and not on the eternal nature of the Trinity. I highly recommend focusing on the Old Testament to see in the interactions of the persons of the Trinity and their level of authority. Is there a commanding and submitting relationship highlighted in the Old Testament? I think that many will be surprised at the tremendous authority that the pre-incarnate Christ reveals by his appearance in the Old Testament that we have not focused on. This is the key to understanding the Trinity.

    This is the reason why we felt it very important to give the entire view of the Trinity that has not been shown to us outside the limited view that so many have focused on entirely from the time of the incarnation. “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future” DVD challenges us to see God’s view of himself before the incarnation. I believe it will cause us to give back the equal honor to Jesus our Savior that he deserves. Jesus is the one who tells us that we must honor him in the same way that we honor the Father. It is not possible to honor Jesus too much or honor the Father too much. They deserve the highest honor that we can give and equal honor is due.

    If we can help even one person to see the Majesty of God in his united authority and honor, then we are honored to be of service to the body of Christ.

  24. Wayne–I love that name ‘complegalitarian’! And the attitude you are asking us all to show is desperately needed. I would pray that both sides of the issue will recognize that at least some in the opposite camp have well-thought-out convictions and that such folks should not be vilified. As one of my professors used to say years ago, “The Christian army is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded.” He could have been describing this very issue. I am sure that Christ is grieved deeply when he sees our disunity and infighting.

    I’d like to add one other comment: there are belligerent complementarians and belligerent egalitarians. And those people don’t realize is that the rest of us don’t want to have anything to do with them–not because of their position but because of their attitude. What they think is coming across as a reflection of their own pain is often rebellion or triumphalism. Each of us needs to look at our own hearts to make sure that we are not contributing to the problem.

  25. Lisa R wrote: “Thankfully we look through the lens of scripture for the ideal rather than through the lens of experience, which can taint the picture every time, especially considering that its brushstrokes are created by flawed and fallen humans aiming at self-significance.”
    I believe that we all look through the lens of experience and to suggest otherwise is simply not recognizing the difference between being human and being divine. My experience allows me to see the various roles women have had in scripture–judge, apostle, elder, prophet–and wonder if those passages that have been so often used to deny women equality might legitimately be translated differently then our English versions have typically translated them (and the male-dominated Church typically interprets them). I have found some compelling evidence to support such an argument so you see, I too am thankful we can look through the lens of scripture for the ideal.
    Dan–I hope I do not come across as one of the blind, belligerent eglatarians you referred to in you latest comment.

  26. Tim with a Latin "i" November 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Man, I wish I had maybe weighed in earlier as the conversation here is great! I don’t know where most of you are writing from, but here in Denton, TX, about 45 minutes away from Irving, TX we recently had a big upset about this egalitarian topic at one of the larger Bible churches in Irving… It even made the paper! That to me says that we got TOO upset over it (although you can’t hide everything from the press) but now, we have shown the world fighting between us on a non-essential doctrine of Christianity! You should be able to find the article at the Dallas Morning News website. Dr. Wallace, you may remember that because it was only a few months ago and Dallas Theological was mentioned as having a break with that particular church if I remember correctly.
    ANYWAYS, all that to say that I think the issue is important, but not central. I don’t think someone would go to hell because they think a woman can teach in the church. However, I do think as Christians we should strive to become as close to scripture in our doctrine as possible and I think it is VERY difficult to get around the theological teaching of the new testament. It says very clearly that women should not teach or have a place of authority over a man. I observe that this relationship is not only similar to that example of the Holy Spirit, but also to that of marriage. Husbands are leaders in the family not because men are better, smarter, or more spiritual; but merely because God appointed us to that position. I think the same is true here. God has His reasons for making said doctrine, but to me is not clear why in scripture (other than that the woman was deceived first) why God did it that way. I would say it is as open ended as predestination for the WHY God made it the way He did. He made it that way because He is the creator and He can and did. SO, I think we need to be carefull to obey what the scripture SAYS and not what we would like the scripture to say based on what we think is fair or culturally acceptable. I know its a touchy subject and I’ll probably take a beating because I think this view is not popular, but I’m stickin to the CLEAR teaching in the NT. Dr. Wallace, I think you and I see eye to eye on our perspectives from what I have read, and also enjoy your Greek syntax book! Oh how I have loved reading it (in 150 page chunks!) for class at the Missionary Training Institute!

  27. Hi Tim,

    I’m in Dallas also (and at DTS) and yes the public bruhaha was quite disconcerting. Interestingly, I just happened to be at the “questionable” church the Sunday when its pastor announced in the midst of the message a clarification regarding their position and how they are NOT taking an egalitarian position, which was the charge levied against them by the pastor of another well known church because they had allowed a woman to preach the Sunday message. Unfortunately, I think the media did well, what the media does best and amplify the negative. But I think what was really neat, which is what this announcement was about, is that the 2 got together on a reconcilitory note in order for there to be harmony, even though they disagree on a “secondary issue” as he put it. Apparently they are friends and he let the congregation know that he has nothing but love for the man, had nothing but good things to say about him.

    Also, while I do hold to a complementarian position, I think we have to be careful with charging egalitarians with scriptural disintegrity. Most egalitarians are trying to be true to scripture also and perhaps employing a different hermeneutic that will allow for equal functionality between genders. I think not being honest to scripture can also describe those holding to a complementarian position that utilize that privilege for selfish and unloving gain, resulting in mistreatment and abuse.

  28. Lisa, in other words you’re saying that Christians can sometimes exercise a hermeneutic of selfishness and sin—one that distorts scripture but allows them to maintain their stance? I agree. And I think that you’ve touched on a very important issue: sin taints our perspective. This is another reason why I can work with believers who have the right attitude even if we don’t see eye to eye on our interpretation of key texts. Nothing against truth, this is instead an acknowledgment that we are all finite and fallible and that the badge of being a Christian is how we relate to each other. Thanks for your insights.

  29. Dan,

    I noted that you mention the “exegetical gymnastics” of egalitarians. And yet, I have been surprised, in photographing the Pagnini Beza Bible and Erasmus, that egalitarians are simply returning to the pre Reformation translations. I have carefully looked at how these differ from Jerome and the Greek, as well as how Tyndale and Luther once again differed from their source text.

    For 1500 years, 1 Tim. 2:12 clearly said that a woman must neither teach nor dominate a man. Christian leaders are also never to dominate the flock. Authentein is simply not allowed for men or women. This was the understanding of 1 Tim. 2:12 for 1500 years. There is no lexical evidence contemporary or in any way close to the NT for authentein to mean “have authority.” I think that you are aware of this. I wonder if you make others aware that there is only contextual and speculative evidence.

    Why would anyone mention “exegetical gymnastics” for those who interpret 1 Tim. 2:12 as neither teach nor dominate? It is the norm.

    I would suggest, on the other hand, that many have noted that your article on Junia included as the one main piece of evidence a quote that was not in any way a parallel with Rom. 16:7. I have puzzled for many years now over this exegetical oddity.

    In fact, it was discovering the traditional and time honoured translations for Rom. 16:2 and 1 Tim. 2:12, those in the KJV, and understanding that all evidence supported these interpretations, which clearly pointed out to me that the complementarian position, as supported by Rom. 16:7 and 2 Tim. 2;12 is unusual and requires much gymnastic ability.

    I am unable as a scholar of Greek to give any kind of acquiescence to the use of evidence in either the studies on authentein or Junia. From an academic standpoint no one has defended the notion that authentein means “to have authority” or that episemos en means “well known to.” These two points have no academic support nor has anyone suggested that articles will be written to support these notions.

  30. Sue, this is not the forum for getting into detailed exegesis over these issues. Suffice it to say that we will have to disagree over whether there is evidence that authentein means ‘have authority’ or that episemons en means ‘well known to.’ But in the least I don’t think that it’s appropriate to say that there is zero academic support for these views. That kind of dogmatic statement isn’t particularly serviceable for the discussion, nor especially for the attitude that we are attempting to inculcate.

  31. I mistyped Romans 16:2 for Romans 16:7.

    I recognize that throughout church history women have not been allowed to preach or teach from the pulpit. However, I think we are all aware that the interpretation of verses pertaining to women are not stable.

    Therefore, I was forced to come to the conclusion that the prohibition on female leadership was not based on scriptural interpretation which has shifted significantly, but on the static goals of the doctors of the church.

  32. Dan,

    I regret that I missed your reply by seconds. I noticed that you wrote,

    “For me at least, to read these passages in an egalitarian way is to do some exegetical gymnastics in which one twists and turns the text to conform it to their views.”

    However, I do think it is worth pointing out that this is what was done with reference to Junia. We do know that Chrysostom accepted Junia as a female apostle as does the 19th century Greek Vamva version of the NT.

    In fact, there is no record of any Greek author ever doubting that Junia was a female apostle. I think it needs to be pointed out that egalitarians are in excellent company here and do not twist this scripture, whereas one could easily get the feeling that those who support “well known to” have done something unusual.

    On authentein, Andreas Kostenberger has already admitted that there is no lexical evidence, so I do not find my statement to be in any way inappropriate. I feel that by falling in line with his work I demonstrate that I am very open to complementarian scholarship.

    I do note, however, that Kostenberger then deduces that authentein must have a positive meaning since didaskein always has a positive meaning in the pastoral epistles. However, in Titus, didaskein is used negatively and so the logical argumentation which Kostenberger offers is shown to be without foundation.

    In this way, I discovered that Jerome had already come to the conclusion that authentein meant dominari, something that Adam did to Eve after the fall. I simply want to know that a woman who reads the Bible through the lens of history can be accepted as one who is not such a great gymnast after all. In fact, I am a downright lousy gymnast! :-)

  33. @Dan–
    “Sue, this is not the forum for getting into detailed exegesis over these issues.”
    So the complimentarian is a studied point of view and not just the opinions of overly controlling men–We’ll take your word for it.
    The eglatarian is a studied point of view and not just the opinions of wishful thinking women–take our word for it. We can all agree to disagree which is a healthy point of view, especially for a minor issue.
    Sorry the CBMW made you out to be more harshly, stanchly complimentarian then you think of yourself as being but we’re glad they did a little adjusting after you used this forum to wage your complaint since they wouldn’t let you use theirs. Now at least there isn’t as much division on a minor point of a minor issue.
    I think I come across more attitudinal when I write than I do face to face but you’ll probably need to ask my complimentarian husband or pastor to be sure.

  34. minnowspeaks, Your words are laced with cynicism. I will say that that is one of the most rude and disrespectful responses I have seen someone post toward a scholar here. If you had any idea how genuinely kind and compassionate this man is toward women…. especially women who are abused under the guise of a complimentarian point of view, you would not have said what you did.

    You may have issues with your husband, but believe me when I say that you have chosen the WRONG man to vent them on.

    Furthermore, how would you feel if someone twisted words of yours in a way which totally misrepresented you, and made you out to be harsh and uncompassionate. Dan is a man who is deeply devoted to God’s word, and the faithful exegesis of it. Can’t you tell from reading his comments that he has had a desire to see 1 Tim. 2:12 as you see it….. and I’m sure he has wrestled greatly with this text. But in the end, as a textual critic he must remain where he is convicted that he is being most accurate and faithful to the Greek….. and to God’s intended meaning. Don’t be judgmental toward him in this. Sometimes I see equalitarians being so quick to assume that men who hold to the complimentarian view want to keep women under the control of men. I can assure you, nothing could be further from the truth where this scholar is concerned.

    I truly hope that you will apologize to Dr. Wallace, who would be the first person to stand between you and any man who would seek to dominate you inappropriately. He treats women with utter respect and kindness.

  35. Susan,

    I did not understand Minnow this way. What I understand is that there is a suggestion that one must twist and turn the text to come to an egalitarian position. However, facts are diverse.

    For 2000 years Junia has been considered an apostle by native speakers of the Greek language. On what basis do American complementarian scholars introduce the notion that she is not?

    So, I think we need to humbly come together and acknowledge that among egalitarians are those like myself, who as a student of the text, cannot agree to the novel notion that Junia was only “well-known to” the apostles. As I mentioned, the one piece of evidence which was supposed to be a close parallel, was not. There is, as of the present date, no published article or argued defense of the notion that Junia was only well-known to the apostles. Unless someone informs me otherwise, this is a statement of fact, not speculation.

    Likewise with authentein, Dr. Wallace confirmed last year, in a discussion with me, his dependence on Tyndale for “to exercise/use authority.” I refer to Chrysostom, Jerome, KJV, Luther, etc. to confirm the traditional meaning of authentein, which is to “be the lord of/lord it over.”

    The only three pieces of evidence for authentein contemporary with the NT are as follows,

    – BGU 1208 – to compel
    – Tetrabiblos – to control
    – Hypolytus – to be the master of (in association with the random violence of the end times)

    If both complementarians and egalitarians could openly acknowldge these facts, then we could see how egalitarianimsm is derived from the same original text without egalitarians twisting and turning the text. This would heal a breach in the church.

    So, I am hoping that complementarians would engage in dialogue with egalitarians without involving such phrases as “exegetical gymnastics” and “twisting and turning” up front before the dialogue has even opened.

    I am sure that godly leaders would welcome the opportunity to explore a common understanding of the underlying lexical units in the text. Although I recognize that this is only one piece of the exegetical task, it is still an important piece. Is the meaning chosen by the exegete within the range of accepted possible meanings for a certain lexical item according to the evidence which we now have available?

  36. Susan–I said what I said in all sincerity, truly. When Dr. Wallace told Sue it was not the place to go into detailed exegesis the only things we were left with were undocumented opinions. That being the case, Dr. Wallace and I (Complimentarians and Eglatarians) should agree to disagree. And we should do so without the judgmental baggage of labeling one side as overly controling and the other side as wishful thinking (cynical, sexist, belligerent, etc.), which by the way too often happens with this particular topic. We have voiced our differing opinions. Repeating them repeatedly will not change the other person’s point of view. Expressing them once may offer a new comer to the conversation a more ballanced discussion but endless repetition achieves no purpose. My “sorry the CBMW” comment was an attempt to get back to the actual point of this post (that Dr. Wallace’s position was misrepresented), acknowledge his statement that they made an adjustment (comment # 18), and bow out of the conversation. I acknowledge my sarcasm when I called it a “minor” point of a minor issue. Dr. Wallace, Susan, I apologize for that offense. I guess minor is in the eye of the beholder. Dr. Wallace did not think it minor that his position was misrepresented. I do not think it minor exactly that parts of scripture continue to be translated and interpreted to ignore the examples within other parts of scripture of women fulfilling the same roles as men (roles many complementarians say women should not have in the Church). Please know I am not saying a person’s stand on this issue affects his or her salvation. I am saying it has an ongoing impact on the health of the Church and our invluence in a dying world.
    Sharing that I sit under a complementarian pastor and live with a complimentarian husband was not intended to give you ammunition. I mentioned it only to admit that my self-assessment may not always be accurate and these two men would be the most likely to know when I have missed the mark.
    Finally, the degree of kindness a master showed his slave rarely quelled the slave’s desire for freedom. I have no doubts that Dr. Wallace is kind. I do not believe I have accused him of being otherwise.

  37. Minnow, sorry if I misread your tone. Thanks for your response. I certainly was not making mention of your husband as ‘ammunition’ . I can’t interact more… got to run!

  38. Sue, you continue to use this thread as a bully pulpit, which I’ve already noted is inappropriate. You continue to speak dogmatically as though all the facts were on your side, when that is simply not the case. I will mention but one example: “with authentein, Dr. Wallace confirmed last year, in a discussion with me, his dependence on Tyndale for “to exercise/use authority.” If this is an example of simply stating the facts, then I would have to question all your other evidence. I have never relied on Tyndale for the meaning of authentein.

    At bottom, there are defensible reasons for egalitarianism and defensible reasons for complementarianism. What I was most interested in in this thread was to see where we could come together in attitude and acceptance, not where we can try to show how only our view has all the evidence on its side (which is not the case with either view).

  39. Dan,

    I must apologize about the comment on Tyndale since I cannot find that discussion on the internet at the moment. Let me rephrase this.

    You write,

    “(Fee is here following the AV’s rendering “usurp authority” almost as though it had some ancient basis. In reality, the AV translators knew Latin better than they knew Greek and the bilingual text they used to prepare the NT was essentially Erasmus’ text [Beza’s edition]. Erasmus published the first Greek NT [Novum Instrumentum, 1516; later called Textus Receptus] in order to defend his revised Latin translation. And since the meaning of aujqentevw had changed after Jerome translated the Vulgate, Erasmus used a different Latin verb to communicate the idea of “usurp authority.”)”

    So, I believe in our discussion there was a mention of the fact that Tyndale used “to have authority” and the translators of the AV used “usurp authority.”

    The question then becomes whether Tyndale or the KJV translators had a better background in Greek. You suggest that the KJV translators knew Latin better than Greek. So, the question becomes, did Tyndale know Greek better than Jerome? How did Tyndale arrive at “have authority?” Is there supporting evidence for this choice?

    I think it is important for readers to know that the reason other evidence is not provided for authentein is because it does not exist. I do not think that it is belligerent or bullying of me to point out a simple fact. This fact is confirmed by Andreas Kostenberger. He writes,

    “Baldwin’s study shows that authentein was an exceedingly rare word in NT times that occurs in the NT only in 1 Tim 2:12 and elsewhere only once or twice prior to the writing of 1 Timothy.”

    In actual fact, only one of Baldwin’s two references is applicable, BGU 1208, and this is the one that is labeled by Baldwin as “compel.” I think Kostenberger recognizes this. So, at the start of current research on authentein, “compel” is the only option.

    Next, Kostenberger writes,

    “The fact that lexical study in this case, owing to the limited data, of necessity remains inconclusive leads naturally to the next chapter in the book, where I consider the sentence structure of 1 Tim 2:12. Specifically, I proceed from the known to the unknown. The first word linked by the Greek coordinating conjunction oude (“or”) is the word “teach,” didaskein, which is frequently used in the Pastoral Epistles and virtually always has a positive connotation,”

    However, this is negated by Titus 1:11,

    “They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.”

    Didaskein is used in the pastoral epistles with a negative connotation.

    Both complementarians and egalitarians are dependent on these facts, that

    – authentein typically means to control or compel
    – didaskein can possibly have a negative connotation
    – authentein and didaskein are either both negative or positive

    I would like to be faithful to the evidence as it is provided by complementarian scholars.

    In our western tradition of scripture, authentein has been translated by Jerome as “dominari,” by Wycliff as “have lordship on”, by Luther as “Herr sei”, by Erasmus as “authoritatem usurpare”, by Tyndale as “to have authority over” and by the translators of the Bishops and KJV as “usurp authority.”

    This was previously discussed at some time.

    If there is evidence earlier than Tyndale that authentein means “to have authority” I have not seen it. Excuse me if I have jumped to false conclusions. I would be happy to be pointed to additional evidence.

    I do not know how to resolve the present misunderstanding without being open about the evidence on authentein.

  40. One of the things that saddens me so much is the introduction into this dialogue of the very negative vocabulary of “bullying” “belligerence” “rebellion” and “twisting and turning.”

    I find it sad that someone else has set themselves up to judge the motives of others, rather than leave this to the Lord of us all.

  41. Sue, I haven’t set myself up as the judge of your motives; but I have repeatedly asked you to focus on attitude, not evidence. Again, the reason for this is that blog threads are not the place to flesh out all the evidence of one’s position. And since I refuse to do what you’ve done, you have used the occasion to bring in snippets of evidence that the average person can’t sift through.

    Your quotation of my mention of Tyndale is a case in point. You said you couldn’t find the proof that I relied on Tyndale (because it doesn’t exist). But when you quoted me, you said, “So, I believe in our discussion there was a mention of the fact that Tyndale used ‘to have authority’ and the translators of the AV used ‘usurp authority.'” Yes, of course. But that is not the same thing as saying that my source for the meaning of authentein was Tyndale.

    What I would like to offer you is this: feel free to point people to your website and all your arguments elsewhere. Do so in this thread. But please stop bringing up dogmatic statements about evidence when you know that at least several decent scholars would strongly dispute your points. It’s the dogma that I am rejecting and it’s the bully pulpit (I never said ‘bullying’ nor has anyone else except you–and bully pulpit is something quite different) that you have used that I have asked you repeatedly to refrain from using. Frankly, that kind of dogma is the very reason why many complementarians will not consider egalitarianism. (And, on the other side, it’s the very reason why many egalitarians will not consider complementarianism.)

    I have been very encouraged by Cheryl’s comments and am in fact intrigued by the evidence that she has amassed. She’s a good model for all of us to follow.

  42. I admit that I am completely unfamiliar with the term “bully pulpit.” It sounded to me like assessing motives. However, I find it is this.

    “A bully pulpit is a public office of sufficiently high rank that provides the holder with an opportunity to speak out and be listened to on any matter.”

    I did not know this. I have learned something here. I has not heard this term before. However, I would point out that I have no office and no rank whatsoever. My website makes this clear. I have no other influence than whether or not what I cite is accurate. That is all I can offer.

    You write,

    “when you know that at least several decent scholars would strongly dispute your points.”

    I don’t know this. I would be interested to know if this were true.

    I respect Cheryl’s work and find that it is more in line with yours, that is, based on the use of contextual evidence. But, I would like to see more recognition that the lexical evidence is as Kostenberger states. Except that he does not recognize Titus 1:11.

    You write,

    “I’m not saying that those who take an egalitarian position on this passage are willing to twist the scriptures! But I am saying that I think they are, in effect, probably doing this just the same.”

    You are, in effect, saying that you think that egalitarians are probably twisting scripture. You speak with authority and people are likely to believe you. But what is the basis for these words?

    I deeply regret that there seems to be a misunderstanding. I would simply like others to recognize that there is no basis for saying that egalitarians twist the scriptures. It saddens me that you say this without evidence.

  43. Sue, thanks for the response. When I said that you were using this thread for a bully pulpit, I meant that you were using it to speak dogmatically about your own views when that was inappropriate in this venue. You may say that you have no authority, but you have spoken so dogmatically about your views that you certainly act authoritatively.

    You want to pull me into a discussion of the evidence. I refuse to do that because this is not the venue, as I’ve repeatedly stated. I have mentioned Doug Moo’s articles as some of the best treatment on 1 Tim 2.12 I’ve seen; instead of constantly making absolute statements, can you provide people with a source that they can turn to where they can find all the evidence that you mention?

    I will leave with this one note: Jerome did not use the word ‘dominari’ (no such word in Latin); he used ‘dominare.’ Look it up in the Oxford Latin Dictionary, definition 1.

  44. I am confused. Moo writes,

    1) “In the pastoral epistles, teaching always has this restricted sense of authoritative doctrinal instruction.”

    I don’t see how this is supported by the evidence.

    2) “Second, the occurrences of this word—the verb—that are closest in time and nature to 1 Timothy mean “have authority over” or “dominate” (in the neutral sense of “have dominion over,” not in the negative sense “lord it over”)”

    But the meanings found in Baldwin’s study as cited in Ev. Feminism and Biblical truth are simply,

    1) Tetrabiblos – to control or dominate
    2) BGU 1208 – to compel or influence
    3) Hippolytus – lord it over (translation here) in context of end times violence. This passage has been retranslated to include the phrase “to have authority” but that was done after the fact, in order to create an occurrence with “to have authority.” The original translation had “to lord it over” and is very violent. Here it is.

    “Wherefore all shall walk after their own will. And the children will lay hands on their parents. The wife will give up her own husband to death, and the husband will bring his own wife to judgment like a criminal. Masters will lord it over their servants savagely, and servants will assume an unruly demeanour toward their masters. None will reverence the grey hairs of the elderly, and none will have pity upon the comeliness of the youthful. The temples of God will be like houses, and there will be overturnings of the churches everywhere.The Scriptures will be despised, and everywhere they will sing the songs of the adversary. Fornications, and adulteries, and perjuries will fill the land;”

    I admit that it should say “savage masters will lord it over their servants.” But I am concerned that this is a violent and vicious climate, a view of the anarchic end times. It is not a context which suggests that authentein means “to have authority” in a positive way or as church leadership. This is the one major piece of evidence for “to have authority.”

    Perhaps I have misunderstood and there is other evidence, but no one has ever published any.

    I fail to see where Moo critiques Knight’s study and demonstrates that the Philodemus fragment, previously the one apparently solid support for “to have authority,” is not in any way evidence for this.

    The best article on this is by Linda Belleville in Dsicovering Biblical Equality ed. Pierce and Groothuis.

    I cited earlier from Andreas Kostenberger here.

    I am an honest person, who is much saddened by the fact that I feel I am asking important questions as a woman, and men simply don’t answer, even when they say they will.

    For example, it has been shown that the evidence mentioned concerning Junia is not a “close parallel” and I believe that someone indicated to me that there would be a further response to this. But none has been forthcoming two years later.

    However, Bibles continue to contain the phrase “well-known to” the apostles.

    I plead with people to open up the evidence to me. I feel that this concerns women intimately. I am a woman.

  45. On “dominare,” I would like to ask you what form that is. It does not show up in Lewis and Short on the Perseus site. I can only find “dominor” with the infinitive “dominari” as is found in the Vulgate.

    docere autem mulieri non permitto neque dominari in virum sed esse in silentio

    Does this word appear elsewhere as “dominare?”

  46. I cited Robert Weber’s Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem for “dominari.”

  47. Sue, I stand corrected; the form in 1 Tim 2.12 is ‘dominari.’ The spelling with the ‘e’ is an infinitive, however.

    You continue to use this thread as a bully pulpit, but I’ve asked you for some specifics which you refuse to give. Please indicate a website that readers can go to to see your arguments in full. This is not the place for that discussion. Why aren’t you hearing that?

  48. Sue, we already had this conversation before. I think that it has run its course. Thanks so much for hanging with us though!

  49. Do I weigh in? Blog owners set the rules for their blog. I think this belongs in the thread without diverting to the theological answer. :)

    Dan I’m not saying that those who take an egalitarian position on this passage are willing to twist the scriptures! But I am saying that I think they are, in effect, probably doing this just the same.

    Sue You are, in effect, saying that you think that egalitarians are probably twisting scripture. You speak with authority and people are likely to believe you. But what is the basis for these words?

    I am not certain what the issue is here?

    Most people believe what they think is true, otherwise they would not hold it and would change their mind to what they think is true. Dan speaks with authority but others who disagree with him also speak with their own authority.

    Further, this is not saying that they intentionally twist the Scripture, rather that because Dan currently holds the view he does, and because he doesn’t think the passage is ambiguous (ie. open to more than one legitimate meaning) then of course he is going to think those holding a contrary view are twisting the meaning, even if they are sincere.

    An example where Dan and I may disagree (a little bold on my behalf given he speaks Greek and I don’t! :) )

    I think people twist the meaning of Hebrews 6 to deny falling away from the faith. My opponents are not willing to twist Scripture but in practice I think they are twisting it.

    And there may be counter examples against me.

    (I do think people in some areas intentionally distort Scripture. I have more time for those who deny the Bible is inerrant, than those who claim it is but make false claims)


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