Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Women Blogging

This post harkens back a bit to an old post of mine in which I wrote a letter to any men who read this blog. It was on my heart at the time to clarify that I don't want to "teach" men in any unbiblical way or take authority where I shouldn't. You can see from the comments that the brothers' consensus was that this blog is not a forum where I am doing (or even can do) that. Dave Black posted this essay and this excerpt from it:

"Obviously, women should not take on the role of authoritative instructors of doctrine, nor should they take on roles that would put them in positions of authority reserved for men in the church (e.g., the position of elder, judging prophecy, disputing with a teacher, making decisions by consensus). On the other hand, that a woman is not to teach does not mean that men have nothing to learn from women. The many prophecies given by God to women illustrate this (Ac 2:17; 1Co 11:3-16). Often my wife has shared with me her insights into Scripture – insights I had never before seen and which helped me in my understanding of a text. Although people do 'learn' from prophecy (1Co 14:31), 'prophets' are not fundamentally 'teachers' (1Co 12:28-29). Even singing can be a form of teaching (Col 3:16) if we learn from the lyrics, but a singer is not really a teacher. An informal sharing of insights and thoughts does not place either person in the official role of 'teacher.' While not permitting women to teach or the have authority of a man, we must be careful not to limit other ministries that are completely open to women. The church would be severely crippled without their input!"

The topic has arisen again recently on several blogs, and I wanted to call our attention to it, because some women are being told they cannot talk about the Bible or the Lord on their blogs unless it's a direct Titus 2 topic, intended only for women. Check out the discussion that has taken place at Holly's blog here, where she was responding to this entry from RC Sproul Jr's blog. Carla Rolfe had an incident at her blog that also brought this topic up; you can read about it here. Spunky addresses the subject, and Sproul's comments, here. Edited to add: Samantha has an absolutely excellent post on this subject here. Apparently, this is something that a lot of us womens is dealing with.

I want to obey God's Word. And I love sharing about Him and discussing anything having to do with Him. But are women crossing a line by doing this on their blogs?

At one time that question troubled me, but I agree with Dr. Black and my brothers online here--as well as my husband and my pastor--that this forum is not one in which sharing about God and His Word is breaking the Biblical command for a woman not to teach and have authority over men. It was a pressing subject for me since my blog is usually about some weighty topics and isn't exclusively devoted to homemaking or parenting.

Carla made an excellent point:

"At no time in this passage are women instructed to be merely window dressing, in the company of men. Our role in the church is specific, and spelled out very clearly for us. At no time in this passage (or any other in Scripture) are women expressly forbidden to discuss doctrine or theology or controversial subjects, in the presence of men (outside of the structure of the local assembly, when and where teaching is taking place). New Testament alone (off the top of my head) I think of Tabitha (Dorcas), Lydia, Priscilla and Phebe. Somehow I do not picture them sitting silently, every waking moment of the day. Paul mentions women who co-labored with him, in the gospel, in Phil. 4:3. A quick cross reference will show who these women are, and what they did, and the influence they had."

Molly made this comment on Holly's blog:

"Also, the quote above from RC is not an internet-based danger, but a real life danger. Cyberspace hasn't invented the problem of false teachers at all.

And 'serving our sisters in cyberspace' is most likely something Paul would have done himself, had cyberspace existed. From everything we can read about him, he grabbed hold of any and all available ground and stormed it for the Kingdom. ('I have become all things to all men...', going to Mars Hill as well as to the Temple in Jerusalem, etc)... So to say it's 'not what Paul had in mind,' I think, is to miss what Paul did with his ministry.

Also, that Titus 2 is *the* curriculum for women teachers is taking Titus 2 a little too far, in this Scripture-searchers estimation. Paul WAS making clear that the older women can be very effective teachers of those things (having just walked thru all those areas of homelife themselves). Paul was *NOT* saying that older women can ONLY teach those things.

We have to be careful not to make Scripture "say" things that it's plainly not saying."

An interesting question: does Titus 2 limit women to focusing on and talking publicly (e.g., when not at home) about the topics therein? Or are we allowed to share in discussions, offer some opinions and discuss ideas, in the proper contexts, keeping a meek and quiet spirit (I hope) about us?