Monday, June 13, 2016

The Eternal Subordination of the Son (and Women)

There is a debate right now over the implications of a teaching called the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS), which explores the intra-Trinatarian relationship between God the Son to God the Father. Here are two summary articles that will bring you up to speed if you are unfamiliar with this discussion and would like to learn more.

Eternal Submission in the Trinity? A Quick Guid to the Current Debate 

A Different Way Forward 

Opponents of ESS like Carl Trueman and Liam Goligher believe that ESS represents a departure from long-held confessional statements of the Church. ESS advocates Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware have responded by saying that they keep the confessions, and their theological beliefs are not being accurately represented. To complicate matters, the debate is actually more than one debate, as Andrew Wilson helpfully points out in the above article by identifying 10 essential questions underneath it. ESS adherents respond to these questions differently which even further impedes dialogue. It is not sufficient to say “ESS proponents” believe XYZ without designating which proponents and which beliefs.

For some, the debate is primarily academic and is best left to those who have spent years reading Trinitarian theology. But for others, the debate has very practical implications. Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem in particular have cultivated the doctrine of ESS in direct response to modern evangelical feminism and use it to bolster their very real world views on gender, particularly submission of women. This teaching then filters down through books, conferences, and pulpits and has significant influence on how men and women are taught to relate to each other in their churches, marriages, and society at large.

Some scholars see the link between ESS and gender as unhelpful. But we would like to submit that the link is much worse than simply unhelpful. We believe it is actually corrupting and confusing the Trinitarian debate. ESS is being shaped by gender debates, not the other way around. And this, in our opinion, is precisely where the disconnect lies. This is why so many have pushback against the ESS presentation of submission in the Trinity.

Grudem and Ware have unapologetically set gender relationships as the frame for their handling of ESS. In the book, One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life (co-edited by Ware with essays by both Ware and Grudem), Grudem introduces the topic with the essay: “Doctrinal Deviations in Evangelical-Feminist Arguments about the Trinity.” In Grudem's book Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, his first chapter in response to evangelical feminism teaches that the “equality and differences between men and women reflect the equality and differences in the Trinity.” Ware, Grudem, and the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on which they sit fundamentally link their understanding of ESS and Trinitarian relationships to gender. 

In his Institutes, John Calvin famously wrote that without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self, and without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God. While scholars are handling the question of “the knowledge of God” in this debate, we believe it’s essential to give attention also to “knowledge of self.” How has Ware and Grudem’s knowledge of human gender influenced their knowledge of God? Has the tail wagged the dog here? We think so.

In this sense, we are not offering solutions to the Trinitarian debate. We are instead suggesting that faulty anthropology has infiltrated it. We are suggesting that Ware and Grudem’s understanding of gender is the reason that their opponents believe their argument is ontological (essential to God the Son's very existence – the foundational topic of debate among the scholars) while Ware and Grudem insist that it is not. Their gender angst is importing faulty categories into the Trinitarian debate.

Consider Grudem's own words as he explains his understanding of Jesus' subordination to God the Father –
“In those relationships, Scripture speaks of the Father having a unique role of initiating, planning, directing, sending, and commanding; it speaks of the Son as having a role of joyfully agreeing with, supporting, carrying out, and obeying the Father; and it speaks of the Spirit as acting in joyful obedience to the leadership of both the Father and the Son.”
Now consider how The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood applies this to women – First, from their website Summary of the Complementarian Position:
A. Created Equality of Essence and Distinction of Role 
Male and female were created by God as equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature, but also distinct in role whereby the male was given the responsibility of loving authority over the female, and the female was to offer willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the man. Gen. 1:26-27 makes clear that male and female are equally created as God’s image, and so are, by God’s created design, equally and fully human. But, as Gen. 2 bears out (as seen in its own context and as understood by Paul in 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Tim. 2), their humanity would find expression differently, in a relationship of complementarity, with the female functioning in a submissive role under the leadership and authority of the male.
And from another post on the cbmw.org website:
Given that gender identity will remain (in the New Creation), is there evidence that functional distinctions will likewise remain in the new creation? Will resurrected saints as male and female {emphasis added} have gender-specific roles? How will we relate to one another? Will male headship apply? … Complementarity is not just an accommodation to the less-than-perfect conditions that prevailed during the first century. Rather, it is a divine principle weaved into the fabric of God’s order for the universe.
Note the parallel language of the joyful agreement and support of the Son eternally to the leadership of the Father and the female's willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the man. If we are reading Grudem, Ware, and The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's position correctly, Jesus is eternally subordinate to God the Father and woman will be eternally subordinate to man in the New Creation. 

Herein lies the problem. Grudem and Ware argue for submission of the Son on the basis of role. So far, so orthodox. But when they apply ESS to gender, they have tied submission to the essence of femaleness and not simply the role of being a wife. By necessity then, when they talk about the Son’s submission to the Father, it is almost impossible not to hear it as an ontological argument. Why? Because Bible-believing Christians know gender (more accurately, biological sex) to be an ontological category. We know that being female is an identity given by God and intrinsically bound up in the imago Dei. This is the fundamental argument against transgender positions: “So God made man[kind] in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” '

When these leaders emphasize female submission instead of wifely submission, they are speaking of submission as if it were an ontological characteristic. Consider how John Piper answered a question on whether a woman should be a police officer.
“At the heart of mature manhood is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships. … At the heart of mature womanhood is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships. … it would be hard for me to see how a woman could be a drill sergeant … over men without violating their sense of manhood and her sense of womanhood.”
These leaders of The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood believe that this benevolent responsibility of man and joyful receiving from woman is the heart of mature manhood and womanhood – not roles for husbands and wives but the essence of the two genders, and they believe it holds still in the New Creation. So when these same men start talking about submission in the Trinity, it makes sense to import the categories they have already established back into the discussion. And they, not any of their detractors, have set this frame. If a woman is not fully female without submissiveness, how is Jesus fully God's Son without it as well? That, friends, is by definition ontology.

Being a wife is a role; being a husband is a role; being a servant is a role; being a citizen is a role. Being male and female are not roles. While our biological sex necessarily shapes the roles we hold (in marriage, a woman will be a wife and not a husband), submission does not stem directly from gender but from a role that exists in the context of relationship. A wife submits to her husband not because he is a “man” but because he is her husband and has committed himself to certain vows and duties in the context of their marriage. The same is true of a servant and master, a congregant and elder, and a citizen and his government. Submission happens in context of specific privileges and responsibilities found in specific relationships bound by specific covenants.

In contrast to the belief that women are ontologically (and therefore eternally) subordinated to men, we believe with Paul in I Corinthians 11:3 that “the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” See these posts for clarification of what “head” means in Scripture.

Thomas Jefferson and Headship 
Male Privilege 
The Missing Head 

If we then let the Bible give commentary on itself, we see that in the New Creation, that middle category of I Corinthians 11:3 does not endure for humans in eternity. Jesus said it Himself in Matthew 28:29-30,
“You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
This is foundational to this discussion. While the categories of male and female endure into the New Creation, the earthly roles of being husbands and wives do not. Or to be more eschatologically accurate, these earthly roles are finally fulfilled. Our earthly marriages—and the submission that happens within them—are but mere shadows of the one great marriage between Christ and His bride that will exist for all eternity. As our roles shift from being individual husbands and wives so too will the submission that flows from our individual relationships. As the collective Bride of Christ, we will all submit to Jesus as our Bridegroom. Christ remains the head of both man and woman. His supremacy (which Philippians 2 tells us is the direct result of his obedience to the Father) will govern our relationships with each other, male and female alike.

In this life now, husbands and wives have an opportunity to give testimony, not to the subordination of women to men, but to the eternal truth that Jesus is a Bridegroom who loved His wife enough to leave His glory, descend to the earth, and fulfill His Father’s plan of Redemption. And this is what we celebrate when we celebrate the subordination of the Son. We do not celebrate authority. We celebrate sacrifice. We do not celebrate control. We celebrate the submission of our wills. It is this beautiful dynamic between the Father and Son, and eventually between the Bridegroom and Bride, that will set the world right.

Hannah Anderson and Wendy Alsup

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Missing Head

In my post on Thomas Jefferson and headship (which a commenter rightly pointed out is NOT a word that the Bible uses), I briefly mentioned addressing in the future women operating in the kingdom with an absentee head (a word the Bible does use). I've been slow to address that, but it is certainly worth exploring. If you haven't read the other article, this one won't make much sense.

I know many men whom I respect as kephale cornerstones in their homes and churches. Christ is the chief cornerstone in the household of faith, but these men image Christ out in their little households within the Big Household. They are load bearing men, who leverage their privilege to provide support and direction to those in their care. I love and admire these men. I won't walk up to them and say anything, because that would be weird. But I note it from afar, and I thank God for what they bring to the household of faith. 

I also know a number of men who have walked away from their load-bearing responsibilities. Some call it mid-life crisis. I think many men, including Christian men, reach a fork in the road a few years into the load-bearing responsibility of family and ministry. The naivety has worn off, and the responsibility is hard. And they must choose. Do they lean into their head, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 11:3), for the strength to persevere under the weight of responsibility, or do they extricate themselves from the household altogether? Many men choose the latter.

When a man removes himself from the weight of responsibility for his home and family, what happens? He was a load-bearing cornerstone, and the house sags in his absence. It will fall to pieces if not for a woman of courage and virtue to bear up in his absence. We see in Scripture such women of virtue bearing up in the absence or abdication of the men who should have been bearing the weight with and for them. Hagar. Abigail. Ruth. Esther. Lois. Eunace. These are the main ones from Scripture who come to mind. But they are joined in my head by the many women I know here on earth who bear up similarly. Felicia, Beth, Christine, Katherine, Louise, Tracy. Women who initiate devotions with their children when no one initiates with them. Women who must figure out how to earn an income after taking years off of their career path to have children. Women who tirelessly rally themselves and their children to church week after week with no reward or pat on the back. Women who spend their Mother's Day serving others because no one is left to serve them.

The Bible calls these ladies women of virtue or capable women. The Bible looks at their role in their homes and praises it. In Proverbs 31, the woman of virtue bears her weight within the context of a marriage in which her husband bears his as well. Scripture implies that he is well respected in the community. This is a man who is a kephale cornerstone, levering his privilege as a load-bearing foundational element of the household. But Ruth was also known as a woman of virtue. Her reputation as a capable woman of strength preceded her (Ruth 3:11) when the kephale stones in her household of husband and father-in-law had died. Ruth was a load-bearing wall, a necessary cross-beam, in Naomi's life. She couldn't replace her father-in-law, yet she carried much of the weight that he would have been bearing if he had still been alive. Yet we see clearly from Ruth and Naomi's life the profound loss in their lives from the death of their heads. Ruth in particular persevered and brought comfort to Naomi, but that did not make the sense of profound loss go away. In fact, it was a new head in the form of Boaz that helped restore Ruth and Naomi's household and family.

Now, depending on our backgrounds and doctrinal inclinations, we are often offended by one or the other of Ruth's states. Some are offended by her persevering independence when widowed. She did it on her own, providing for her family, even leading her mother in law in perseverance and hope. Some would say her independence would make her a bad future wife. On the flip side, some are offended by Ruth's rescue by Boaz. Did she really need a white knight riding in to save her? Could she have not persevered on her own? A woman doesn't have to have a man, right?

We might recognize this tension better in a modern situation. Consider the divorced woman in your church, a divorce not of her own choice, who rises from the ashes to make something of her life. Is she too independent? Is she perceived as unwilling to submit to another man? Maybe other church members think she brought this all on herself and no godly man would have her. Or, on the flip side, is she too interested in finding a new husband? Is she needy and unable to care for herself? Would you tell her she doesn't need a man? That she can do this on her own? That's she's better off not dependent on some other man who can hurt her?

We don't need to pit the two stages of Ruth's life against each other. We don't need to pit the overcoming single woman without a man against the woman who has a husband who is bearing the keystone weight of his household. One does not undermine the value of the other. Both stages of Ruth's life pictured overcoming gospel hope, Ruth as a widow bearing undue weight as she persevered caring for Naomi, and Ruth and Boaz as a couple who picture the coming kinsman-redeemer. At neither stage of life was Ruth without the consequences of the fall. Not only did Ruth's first husband die, her second did eventually as well. She very likely was a widow on the back end of life as well as the front end. And at neither stage was Ruth without hope from her newfound God. These two stages don't need to be pitted against each other to recognize the great help and structure that Boaz brought to both Ruth and Naomi as Ruth's head. He provided a foundational fix to the household structure Ruth had been valiantly holding up on her own. We can both honor the kephale cornerstone that Boaz was and say with profound conviction that the house would fall without the woman standing alongside the man, and sometimes standing without him when he defaults on his responsibilities.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

On Male Privilege

With a title referencing male privilege, this surely must be another article bashing evangelical men, right? Absolutely not! Though the mere mention of the term privilege causes some folks to bristle, I don't want to talk about male privilege as something to bash men about but as something that is a gift to the entire Body of Christ, particularly the most vulnerable in it, when used as God intended.

First, is there such a thing as male privilege? It's important to define privilege. When I use the word, I mean an advantage available to a certain group of people. The entire male gender does enjoy some advantages over the female gender when statistical averages are compared. It's important to note that privilege refers to statistical averages more than individual comparisons. There will always be outliers, and any one individual man can easily find twenty women with more money or influence, even more physical strength. But averaged out by county, state, or nation, men consistently earn more than women working the same jobs. They average out as physically stronger than women. And in many nations, men still hold clear legal privilege over women by law. Averaged out through humanity, there is a clear advantage financially, physically, and often even legally to be being born a man.

Next, is privilege a bad thing? NO! It can be a very good thing. It's not a thing to be ashamed of, UNLESS you only use your privilege to serve yourself. Always in Scripture, those privileged by race, gender, or financial ability are called to steward that privilege to serve those around them in need. I don't write as a bitter old woman mad at all the men in my life who abused their privilege. In fact, quite the opposite. The majority of men in my life with God-given authority over me, particularly my dad and my pastors, have used their authority to bless me again and again. I have had really good examples of men in my life who leveraged their privilege for my benefit (even though they likely have never thought of it in those terms).

As I've been thinking through what headship should be in the Body of Christ, I can't get away from my dad's example. Each Father's Day, I stand in the aisle reading cards until one makes me cry. Then I know I've found the right card for Daddy. Yesterday, he gave my oldest son a farmer's cap as he took him to guitar lesson. When my son got out of the car and walked in the house with the cap turned sideways on his head, he told me, “Mom, you have a good dad.”

Daddy had three daughters and no sons (now he has six grandsons and no granddaughters, which I find funny). Daddy loves his daughters, and he worked hard as a farmer to provide for us. He did not personally start off in life with land or equity that he inherited from his parents. He didn't have a chance to get a college degree. But through hard work and a good business sense, he is leaving his daughters with financial security and peace of mind.

Daddy is an authority in my life. He doesn't request much, but whenever he does, my sisters and I drop everything we are doing to help him. But it's because we love him, and we know he would do anything he could to protect us and help us. Daddy saw that we were well educated, and he values our opinion and defers to us often. He is proud of his daughters' accomplishments. He respects our minds. But Daddy also knows stuff we don't know, and we need his knowledge.

Daddy is more financially secure than me. Daddy is stronger than me. Even with chronic heart failure at age 78, he can slice a piece of wood with a single swing of the ax (which I learned last year when he was trying to show me what I was doing wrong). But Daddy has never lorded that authority or strength over me. He instead has used it to bless and help me when I have been vulnerable or needy. He has used his strength to enable me to be strong.

A friend gave me feedback on my post on Thomas Jefferson, “Authority isn't missing from your expression of headship, but it's a means to an end; not an end in itself.” This is how my dad and the majority of pastors in my life have used their authority in my life. Their authority wasn't about their authority. Their authority wasn't the absolute thing to preserve. Their authority was a tool. They felt responsibility for those with whom they were called to relationship and they used their authority to bless those in their care.

There is beauty in this vision, which I argue is the Biblical model, for both men and women. For men, it addresses the angst we have seen over the last two decades over what it means to be a manly man. May my sons and nephews understand that being a manly man means above all else that you shoulder your responsibilities and leverage your gifts and privileges for those smaller or weaker or less secure than you. For women, this vision frees us to recognize godly men (men who don't protect their authority or privilege but use it for the good of others) and respond to them as is appropriate, to encourage them as needed. If God calls us into relationship with one, then we support them as they support us. We bear our responsibilities beside them, with them, be it in the church or home, as helpers strongly suited for just that kind of co-labor.  All in the image of God.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Women Teaching Men – A Short Response

Mary Kassian wrote an article at Desiring God entitled Women Teaching Men — How Far Is Too Far? In it, she addresses recent discussions about what women can do in the church. She gives the guidelines she uses, some of which I found helpful. She also affirms that women asking this question are doing so from a heart of faithfulness to the Scripture, a point I appreciated as well.
May women ever teach from Scripture when men are in the audience? Should men even be reading this article? How far is too far? 
It’s a question being asked by scores of women who want to be faithful to the Bible and want to exercise their spiritual gift of teaching in a way that honors God’s pattern of male headship in the church.
My problem with the article comes primarily from the analogy she uses to explore this question.
The discussion surrounding the boundary reminds me of another how-far-is-too-far issue: How physically affectionate should a couple be prior to marriage? Should they hold hands? Kiss? Kiss for five seconds, but not fifteen? Lip kiss but not French kiss? How far is too far? 
Well, the Bible doesn’t exactly specify. Trying to put together a list of rules about permitted behaviors would be both misleading and ridiculous. But we’re not left without a rudder. The Bible does provide a clear boundary. Sexual intercourse prior to marriage crosses the line.
Here's the major problem I have with this analogy. The Bible specifies a lot more about women teaching/prophesying/proclaiming in the church than it does with foreplay before marriage. What if the Bible told a story of Boaz and Ruth french kissing without judgement before they were betrothed? What if Paul affirmed in I Corinthians young men in the church holding hands with women not yet their wife? If the Bible affirmed some form of premarital foreplay, then the line for premarital foreplay would be a reasonable analogy for acceptable forms of women teaching men in the church. But the Bible doesn't give examples of acceptable foreplay outside of marriage.

In contrast, Scripture does give examples of women affirmed as prophets, apostles, judges, and deacons. When we forget that fact, we run the great risk of declaring as bad (or just projecting some type of taint on it) what God affirms. We must not set up a false dichotomy between affirming and honoring God's plan for male headship in church/home and women using their gifts of teaching as Scripture allows. In fact, I would argue God's plan for male headship is harmed, not helped, if co-laborers in the household of faith are encouraged away from using their gifts as fully as Scripture allows.

I went to Bible college with a number of earnest Christian women who used Mary's encouragement on the issue of premarital foreplay. There was the Virgin Lips Club, the model women on campus who had never kissed a guy and vowed not to until marriage. I lost my virgin lips in high school youth group many moons before, so I wasn't a member. I had no problems with that club, and I don't have much problem with my experience either. In general, we all valued God's command around sexual faithfulness, which was good.

But I submit that the women-teaching-men version of the Virgin Lips Club greatly undermines God's plan for the Church. If a large portion of the Church is instructed that it is OK to stamp down their spiritual gifts of teaching to stay as far from the line of teaching with authority that I Timothy 2-3 limits to male elders, we are going to lose a boat load of 2x4 studs in the household of faith. In my article on Thomas Jefferson and headship, I argued the case of husbands and elders as kephale headstones in their little houses in the big house of faith. But women come alongside them as necessary supports. The cornerstones can not hold the entire structure of the house. They need 2x4's and cross beams, and the gifts of women, including the gift of teaching, are necessary, not periphery to the health of the Church.  This is the point complementarians must regularly stress if they want to be truly Biblical.  We are not free to not use women's gifts. 

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Prophets, Priests, Apostles, Elders, and Women

This is going to be a shorter article, because I have much more research and study to do on it. I'll put out my thesis, but I have not yet done the full survey of Scripture that I need to do to come up with final conclusions.

Thesis: By conflating the roles/offices of priest and prophet in the Old Testament and elder and apostle in the New, modern evangelicals (particularly around the Young, Restless, and Reformed resurgence) have conflated roles in which women were used in Scripture with roles in which they were not, the result being that all roles are open to women in egalitarian thought and none to women in complementarian thought. Both of these systems of thought miss the Biblical model which had women robustly used in ways involving verbal proclamations (prayers and prophecies) but limited them in authoritative/pastoral roles involving sacrifices in the Old and sacraments in the New.

Points to consider: 

1. It's a presbyterian/reformed thing to see Scripture as connected and coherent. The Old Testament is not a disjointed set of antiquated Laws and stories. Instead, it is the foundation for the New Testament, the first buds of the gospel story that blooms in earnest in the gospels. For instance, in reformed thought, the New Testament practice of baptism is closely tied to the Old Testament practice of circumcision.

2. What if New Testament elders are tied to the ministry of Old Testament priests and New Testament apostles more to Old (and New) Testament prophets/prophetesses? How would this change our understanding of what women can and cannot do in the Church?

3. The church polity of individual churches and denominations are varied. Rather than considering how different churches use the words apostle, elder, and pastor, we should start by simply considering how the Bible uses the words.

4. Women were clearly prophetesses in both the Old and New Testament (Ex. 15:20, Judges 4:4, 2 Chron. 34:22, Luke 2:26, Acts 21:9).

5. Women clearly spoke (prayer and prophecy) during worship gatherings in the New Testament church (I Cor. 11:5).

6. Women were forbidden from either all speaking in services or a certain type of speaking in I Cor. 14: 34 and I Timothy 2.

7. A woman, Junia, may have been an apostle, depending on how you read Romans 16:7.

8. Priest in the Old Testament and Elder in the New were official roles with very specific qualifications. Only men are named in either role. New Testament qualifications for elder are less strict than Old Testament qualifications for priest.

9. Neither prophet/prophetess in the Old or apostle in the New have clearly specified qualifications (at least not on par with priest and elder). There are no qualifications in Scripture around their gender. 

Points 5 and 6 are important – either Paul wrote a convoluted mess of instructions to the church at Corinth, or he didn't. I personally don't think he did, and I think we can use the different things he says to refine what each instruction means, using the Bible as commentary on itself. Whatever keeping silent means in I Cor. 14 and teaching with authority means in I Timothy 2, it apparently doesn't mean a woman can't pray or prophesy publicly in church. I have seen churches which don't allow women as elders that are more and more asking women to lead in prayer during worship service. I think that is closer to the practice of the New Testament church.

In general, I think the conservative gender resurgence of the last few decades involved a charismatic element that conflated the office of elder with the general gift/role of apostle. Mark Driscoll saw himself as receiving direct words from the Lord. He believed the charismatic gifts were still for today and, in my humble opinion, played loose with the phrase, “God told me ….” C J Mahaney and John Piper, I believe, are both open to charismatic gifts for today. I personally don't have strong convictions either way – I see in Scripture both the argument for and against apostolic/charismatic gifts for today. I tend toward a belief that direct words from God were shut off when the canon of Scripture was set.

This conflation of the priestly and prophetic serves the egalitarian argument that everything is open to women. My friend Jeremiah says it this way – “Complementarians who maintain the lazy conflation of priestly and prophetic don't realize they've conceded the argument to egalitarians if they won't begin to distinguish the two roles from the OT forward.”

Personally, I have no problem that Junia is talked about like she was an apostle. I can concede that to egalitarians and still believe the authoritative office of elder in the church is for qualified men only. I also don't have a problem with the ministry of women like Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer, at least not because they are women (in contrast, I disagree with how both handle Scripture). Neither has attempted to take a spiritually authoritative role of elder (that I know of). They don't exercise church discipline. In fact, I watched an episode of Joyce Meyer speaking with her husband and noted the deference and respect she gave him (whom I think actually oversees her ministry).

In conclusion, I think we see women throughout Scripture speaking to God's people—prophesying in the Old (and New) and praying in services in the New. I'm wondering how a triperspective view of elder as prophet, priest, and king, a thought that took off over the last decade in Mark Driscoll's circles, confused us about what women can and can't do by lumping all of those under the auspices of one specific role in the church, the authoritative role of elder.

I have much more thinking and research to do on this, and if you have thoughts or input, please add them. I always grow from reading comments.

(Unless you want to tell me what's wrong with Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer. Please don't do that. That will only distract from the important discussion over what women did and did not do in the Old and New Testament.)