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Monday 22 January 2024

Out of Date?


One of the biggest flaws in the modern evangelical interpretation of the Bible is the mistake of assuming that because the Bible is a product from a particular era, or time, that it is a product of that particular era or time.

But the Apostles, early believers and early church faced opposition on virtually every point of their teaching; including their teaching on gender roles and sexual morality. None of the Christian morality that was preached by the Apostle's was consistent with that held by the Romans, and nor was their understanding of gender roles. Romans and Greeks had female ministers and priests in their temples, and there were even mystery cults which taught people to avoid marriage to pursue particular religious or secular pursuits. But in the midst of all of this the New Testament remained consistent in its teaching, and only until the advent of modern feminism was it really questioned.

Before that the teaching they gave was viewed as of vital importance and necessary to preserve the church.

Of course the fact that we have rejected all their advice and the church has taken a nosedive in the West faster than almost any other religion in history could be a complete co-incidence. It isn't, but it could be...right?

Chrysostom on 1 Timothy 2:15 - "“By these means they will have no small reward on their account, because they have trained up wrestlers for the service of Christ. By holiness he means good life, modesty, and sobriety.” In other words by managing the home the mother guarantees the next generation of Christians is trained and ready to go out into the world. 

I think that if the majority of the modern evangelical church was wrong about egalitarianism then the church would be in pretty much the exact state that it is currently in. And if the early church were right to not be egalitarian, their churches would have been capable of conquering the world, because they created Christian making factories in the home. Maybe, they were right and knew what they were talking about, and the modern church is wrong? Maybe? Definitely!

A scholar called Kostenberger notes that this is what Paul was addressing in parts of his letter in Timothy,

"If these lines of thought are correct, the present passage would speak powerfully to a cultural context where many are seeking to “liberate” women from all encumbrances of family responsibilities in order to unleash them on a quest for self-fulfillment apart from such functions. Passages such as the present one appear to indicate that it is precisely by participating in her role pertaining to the family that women fulfill their central calling. Moreover, if the reference to “childbearing” should indeed be understood as a synecdoche, even unmarried women are to retain a focus on the domestic sphere and all that it entails.”

Sounds pretty relevant to today doesn't it? Paul views aren't out of date. They are the key to a better future for the western church. 


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