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I would like to address a few points from the article “Is There a Place for Female Professors at Seminary?” by John Piper. I don’t want to be so naïve and presumptuous to call this a “response to” or “open letter”, since the chances of John Piper ever hearing of this writing by lil’ ol’ me, are… just none. Nevertheless, my biggest concern is the effect that this type of message may have in women within my small circle, and how it could negatively influence the health of the Body of Christ. In short, I believe women need to be encouraged to develop their gifts for the glory of God, not limit them… at least, not any more that the clear plain and simple words of Scripture do. (“Do not go beyond what is written.” 1 Cor. 4:6)

About John Piper.

First of all, let me say that I highly admire and respect John Piper. He is one of the few Christian leaders that has been successful in preaching the word faithfully for years, while keeping himself clear from scandals and moral stains. In spite of his fame, he is still humble, he is an example of someone not given to luxurious excesses, and has been brave in going against the culture when he has seen the need to stand up for racial reconciliation in our cities, and moral character in the political arena.

With all that said, I also believe that we ought to be wise in discerning the degree of truth in what anyone says, whether great or low. As John (the Apostle) writes in his 3rd letter: “do not imitate what is evil, but what is good”.

As speakers, Bible teachers and people on places of public speech prominence (including the internet) we ought to be mindful of stating clearly the difference between our opinion (which may be great, good, bad, etc), and what is Scripture (clearly, plan reading unquestionable).

Furthermore, as hearers, the idea that anything said by someone so highly respected must be right, is at best unwise; at worst idolatrous. We must be Bereans and judge everything against the word of God.

With that said, let me share a few points:

  1. Yes to Complementarianism

Although I tend to stay away from labels, for the sake of this discussion, I believe there is a very strong case to support the tenets of Complementarianism, in so far as the role of Pastor within a local church, and the family. Complementarianism is generally defined as “.. men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, …”.

When you look at the usage of the Greek word for ‘elder’ In the New Testament, it is very reasonable to conclude that Pastors are to be males only, for various reasons, none of them being inability or inferiority in the part of females. Likewise, I believe it is very clear that the role of a husband as the leader (servant leader, mind you) of the household, and ultimate responsible party, is indisputable.

  1. Seminary is not a church.

However where I get off the bus so-to-peak, and let John Piper alone is starting at this point:

I am going to answer this question as best I can on the assumption that the Bible teaches that churches should be led by a team of spiritual, humble, biblically qualified men (1 Timothy 2:12). In other words, I’m going to base my argument about the seminary on the assumption of complementarianism, which I think is not merely an assumption but a well-founded historic understanding of Scripture.”

Notice that he starts at a true statement from a clear Biblical passage about the church (“the Bible teaches that churches should be led by a team of … men”), to an inserted assumption that seminary should work under the same premise.

Two problems:

A. Seminary is not a church.

The church was:
– Announced by Jesus in Matthew 16:18
– Established in Acts 2, and first called “the church” (‘Ekklesia’, ‘gathering’, ‘assembly’ ) in verse 47.
– Described in its unique characteristics (organization, leadership, discipline structure) in many other passages.

Making seminary of the same level and significance of church, would demand, (aside from Biblical support), the consistent application of other church biblical requirements (discipline? Tithing? Sunday gatherings?)

B. Seminary is an educational institution

On the other hand, seminary is not an institution established by the New Testament. Seminary is a modern development brought up by the convergence of formal education and religion training. Although very useful (mostly), seminary is neither a formal biblical institution, nor a biblical requirement for pastorship. (see: Acts 20:17-38; 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9).

I think the shaping done by “models and mentor” Piper refers to –the character formation of a future pastor (seminary student) is more greatly done by the influence of the Holy Spirit through godly men and women, rather that necessarily an institution.

Now, is knowing scriptures absolutely necessary? Yes! is learning the Bible and being encouraged a good thing? Yes!. Do we have examples of this? Absolutely!. Here three examples:

* Right after Paul and Silas were freed and the Philippian jailer converted, the gospel was preached and soon after “…they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.” Acts 16:40
This went on to become the church in Philippi, to whom Paul wrote the letter of Philippians.

* “24 At that time a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was an educated man from Alexandria. He knew the Scriptures very well. 25 Apollos had been taught the way of the Lord. He spoke with great power. He taught the truth about Jesus. But he only knew about John’s baptism. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Priscilla and Aquila heard him. So they invited him to their home. There they gave him a better understanding of the way of God. ..” 1 Corinthians 2

* “28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him… 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”,” John 4:27-42

  

  1. The logic behind women teachers in seminary

Now that we have demonstrated that seminary is neither a biblical requirement nor a biblical institution, why could a woman not be instrumental in teaching future church leaders in many areas? Languages, history, counseling,  prayer, exegesis, soteriology, technology; these are by and large knowledge areas that can be very critical for a pastor to know and understand, and that many women can be even more capable that men in teaching. The idea of a woman not being able to teach, let’s say, Counseling, to a future pastor, because she has never been nor will ever be a pastor herself, makes as much sense as:

– an attorney not being able to teach a workshop on Health Regulations to a class of future doctors, or
– a rabbi not being able to teach a course on Religious Cultures to a class of future Army officers, or
– an IT technician teaching PowerPoint to a class of future Science teachers.. and so on…

Just in the same way, what Bible passage prohibits women from teaching (again, outside of the pastor’s position) the Word of God and the many related aspects related to it? None that I can find.

In summary: God gave gifts to both men and women. Let’s let women feel free to explore and develop their God given potential in using their gifts in teaching and serving –even without being the pastors, for the building of the church.

In a society and time so marked by biblical illiteracy, imagine what would happen if more and more of our wives and mothers and daughters and teen girls, and female college students found their call, received the support and had the environments to develop their skills? Why not give it a shot?

 

  • Think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, … or ministry, …..” Romans 12
  • 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom … the word of knowledge … faith … healings …” 1 Corinthians 12
  • 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. … 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” Ephesians 4
  • 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, … If anyone ministers, ..” 1 Peter 4
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Bad pilgrims or good pilgrims? How does that affect my Thanksgiving today?

Thoughts with accent

For some reason it bothers me when I see people making comments and promoting the agenda that the Thanksgiving holiday celebration is a lie and that the truth rests on the fact, that what happened at the ‘first thanksgiving’ was the atrocious display of an abusive and barbarian blood-and-power-thirsty strategy of a group of settlers who came and stole the land, lives and privileges from the innocent, defenseless, indigenous group of people who inhabited America prior to the conquest.

But, What did really happen? What –if anything, could or should I do about it? Why does it bother me so much?

To start with the ‘what really happened’ question, after careful reading through the last few days about Thanksgiving, I am coming to the conclusion that, as in anything else, there is a variety of versions of ‘history’ that very likely have been in some degree ‘shaped’ by the…

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A few thoughts to meditate on today’s national day of prayer.

Thoughts with accent

…a few key points to ponder about prayer that are very much in sync with today‘s celebration:

  1. Prayer is not a repetition of words. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus stated it very plainly: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions”. Often times, we ‘talk’ to God by repeating a pre-determined set of words, often while we are thinking what’s for lunch, check our email or let our mind wonder somewhere else.
  1. Prayer is not a ‘groceries list’. There are many examples of prayers in the Bible. The one we reference above from Matthew 6 is often called “The Lord’s prayer”. However, technically that is not the Lord’s Prayer. The famous “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…etc etc” is actually the disciple’s prayer as it was given by Jesus to the disciples as a guide on how they…

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Thomas; a week after Easter

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Has the Easter effect faded? ‘Thomas; a week after Easter’ >>

Thoughts with accent

About a week ago, we celebrated Easter. Twitter, Facebook and other social media were inundated with “He is Risen” type of messages. On that Sunday two thousand years ago, Jesus had risen from the dead, conquering sin and darkness. That day, after showing up to a few women, He appeared to His disciples. One of the disciples however, was missing from that meeting: Thomas. Though his fellow friends told him they had seen The Lord, Thomas responded with the famous doubtful words “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24)

Today, a week later, Twitter, Facebook and the news outlets are flooded with a whole different type of messages: the economy, ball games, politics, spring break. Even…

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In a purely human way, the term ‘Christian’ is a label either (a) given to people perceived to follow Christ, or (b) claimed by those who –in their interpretation, follow Christ.

With that in mind, there is a wide variety of Christians.

There are Christians who claim The Bible is the one and only source of authority. Other Christians claim there are other equally authoritative books and sources.

There are Christians who believe the Bible is inspired, literal, inerrant, and infallible. Others, that it is metaphorical and subject to culture and times context.

Some Christians hold to the idea that only those who believe, accept and obey Jesus by repentance and life change, can be saved. Others argue that, at the end, everybody will be saved.

Some Christians believe it is OK to have loud music with neon lights and PowerPoint presentations in church. Others are OK with music but only hymns. Others believe any kind of music in church is sinful and only sing a cappella.

Some Christians believe speaking in tongues is an evidence of salvation. Others believe it’s acceptable for some but not mandatory. Others will argue that speaking in tongues is a sign of demon possession.

Some Christians believe love is exemplified by accepting -and even supporting other people’s sin. Some others adhere to the idea that you can love without supporting their sin. Some say that the best and most loving thing to do is to show love by making people aware of what sin is, showing its dangers and guiding people to repentance. Others say that there is pretty much no sin at all.

Some Christians are against same-sex marriage. Some Christians state that homosexuality is a sin, but are OK with non-believers enjoying the social and civil benefits of marriage. I have even read of Christians who argue that Jesus condoned and justified male-male sexual intercourse.

Some Christians may agree with this post, in that there is a vast variety of interpretations and beliefs. Others will label me as heretic (believe me, I already have this week).

We could go on and on describing hundreds and thousands of issues in which Christians disagree. Some perhaps critical; some maybe inconsequential. Who is right and who is wrong?. It is hard to believe that everyone is right when many of these positions are so diametrically opposed to each other. I would think that one day we will know, when God will judge everyone according to what we have done.  I would think God is big enough and just enough to give to each of us according to whether we followed a belief out of honest misunderstanding, or just as an excuse to justify our own pleasures and desires. That is of course, if my interpretation of God’s justice is accurate –I could be wrong. We do get the idea that some, at the judgement time, will be sadly surprised of how deceived or wrong they were (see Matthew 7:21-23)

empty-tomb-and-three-crosses-colette-scharf

Either way, there is one thing most Christians agree and can be united on and celebrate together: Jesus lived, walked on this earth around two thousand years ago, taught, loved and ultimately went to the electric chair of His time, to pay for the due penalty of our sins so that we would not have to. And three days later, He was the first and only human being  who came back to life to never die again, proving what He claimed, that He was the son of God, God himself in a human body. This event was of such relevance to humanity, that millions of people throughout the last two thousand years have and still, talk about, debate and put their hope in Him.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is the single most significant event in human history and the one thing in which our whole faith relies upon. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the one thing that we all –labeled and self-proclaimed Christians, can agree and celebrate together.

May this common cornerstone bring us to a point where we all can examine ourselves, our motives, actions, arguments and positions, and humbly consider that we could be wrong in our interpretations, and to seek to please God and follow Him whatever it takes, by seeking practical and lasting ways to honor Him.

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

A re-look at the chances of winning the Powerball

Thoughts with accent

Ever find yourself daydreaming with “What would I do with 300 million?”. In case you were wondering, I have, and this is my action plan:

– Since the amount before taxes is about $500 million and my first fruits are to go back to God, my church would be happy to receive at least a $50 million tithe check; down to $450 million.
Taxes off the total amount come to be about $200 million; down to $250 million.
Dave Ramsey would suggest saving 10% or 20% for future and retirement –but, who needs $25 million for retirement?. Let’s put… hhmm $5 million down for retirement investment to live off the rest of our lives (that should give us $100k a year to live very comfortable the next 60 years); down to $245 million
– Let’s say I go crazy buying a new house, a house at the beach…

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Posted: July 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Thoughts with accent

A few days ago I read a blog in which the author stated that Christians, following the example from Acts 2 and Acts 4, should be the first group to be in  favor of socialism and that Christianity was the basis or Marxism. He went as far as to say that God feels so strongly about this issue, that He “terminated” Ananias and Sapphira’s life for not giving all the money to the church when they sold their land.

Is this true? As Christians, should we sell all of our possessions and give the proceeds to the “Church leadership central bank” –or the government? Should we follow an economic system according to Karl Marx’s “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”?

Last night, as our men’s group is going through the book of Acts (what a fine group of guys by the way), we…

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