By now, my regular readers know that my views on women do not square with most of my conservative evangelical brothers and sisters. I do not hide this fact, but I have been hesitant to address the "elephant in the room" because of the controversy that normally flocks to this matter, like flies to honey. In fact, more than controversy, oftentimes the worst in people rises to the surface.
Believe it or not, I don't like to provoke my Christian family members "to wrath." I do, however, believe it is part of my calling to encourage my family to think. It is for this reason that I have become certain that I need to address this matter head-on and trust that my readers can and will take care of their own hearts. For the next few weeks, therefore, I will present a series of posts on women, the Bible, and the Kingdom of God.
I will share with you that the primary impetus for my acquiescence is that I am weary of having scripture quotations from both testaments lobbed at me like holy hand grenades. These games of Bible ping-pong can be amusing at times, but they accomplish little in advancing real discussion. As one aged Sunday School teacher once told me, "The devil can quote scripture, too."
So, rather than build a stockpile of scripture quotations that I hope will "stand" against your stockpile, I hope to choose many of the most pertinant matters in the discussion and explore them from my perspective. The following outline is a projection of what I hope to address in the days and weeks to come:
Presuppositions: My Theological, Hermeneutical, and Experiential Starting Point
The Creation Account. What does Genesis 1-2 really say about the relationship of men and women? Is subordination really a part of the intended creation order or is it a result of sin?
Women in Select Old Testament Narratives. How did Yahweh deal with women in the earliest stories of Israel's history? Did Yahweh's treatment of women mirror the culture or challenge and rise above it? What are we to do with stories of select women who seemed to perform "a man's job"?
Women in the Law of Moses. What does the Law say about women? How should we understand laws that appear grossly misogynistic and/or arising from ignorance?
Women in First Century Roman Palestine. What was the place of women in the world of Jesus? What was the view of women among the Jews in the time of Jesus?
The Ministry of Jesus to and with Women. How did Jesus treat women as both recipients of and co-laborers in, his ministry? What does it mean that there were no women in the Twelve? What does Jesus' teaching offer that is pertinent to the discussion?
Paul's Ministry and Women. What was Paul's practice when it came to women and ministry? Upon what basis did he carry out his mission with the aid of women? Who were the women with whom Paul labored?
Women in Select Pauline Epistles. What should we understand Paul to mean in passages like 1 Cor 14:34-36; Gal 3:28; Eph 5:22-24; and 1 Tim 2:11-15? How is the meaning of these passages best applied to us today?
"Biblical Womanhood." Is there any such thing as "biblical womanhood"? Where does this concept come from and what is the alternative? Is there a reasonable, biblical view of gender that doesn't rest on "biblical womanhood"?
As I said above, this is merely an outline. I reserve the right to alter my course when and if I think it is appropriate. I plan to have small interruptions periodically in order to focus on particularly interesting theological or hermeneutical points. Also, my attention span is challenged by such a long series, so be ready to have small interrupting posts of completely unrelated material every so often.
Finally, I would be delighted to hear suggestions from my readers of those issues, passages, or points of view with which you particularly would like me interact. I will do my best to satisfy your curiosity, but I do not guarantee that I will provide any definitive answer.