Saturday, February 9, 2013

John Calvin on Women in the Church

John Calvin, "Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy" pgs67-68:
But I suffer not a woman to teach.
Not that he takes from them the charges of instructing their family, but only excludes them from the office of teaching, which God has committed to men only. On this subject we have explained our views in the exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. If anyone bring forward by way of objection, Deborah (Judges 4:4) and others of the same class, of whom we read that they were at one time appointed by the command of God to govern the people, the answer is easy. Extraordinary acts of God do not overturn the ordinary rules of government, by which he intended that we should be bound. Accordingly, if women at one time held the office of prophets and teachers, and that too when they were supernaturally called to it by the Spirit of God, He who is above all law might do this; but being a particular case, this is not opposed to the constant and ordinary system of government.
J.G. Brown, "An Historian Looks at 1 Timothy 2:11-14" pgs5-6.



  1. Since Calvin is relying primarily (if not solely) on "the constant and ordinary system of government" he is (a) bound by self-acknowledgment to the cultural "rules" and "ordinary system" of his own time, and he is (therefore?) (b) deliberately ignoring the myriad women who were with the men closely around Jesus and those who merited the approbation of Paul. He is not saying that at no time could another "rule" or "ordinary system" be commended by Almighty God.

    1. Yeah I agree, and was a bit surprised that he went a more political route than exegetical. That was very odd to me, since he is known as a above average exegete.