Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gender and the Modern Church

 I found this post by Dr. Craig Keener, and while I don't agree with everything, I found a lot of value in his writing.

Keener:
Sometimes more traditional interpreters have accused those of us who follow this approach of dishonoring the Bible. This accusation, however, misrepresents the debate's real crux: how one should apply the Bible. After all, the prophets, Jesus and Paul all reapplied some earlier biblical principles in new circumstances; addressing a new situation, Paul, for example, adds an explicit exception to Jesus's teaching about divorce. It is therefore biblical as well as pastorally sensitive to consider how we apply texts.

Moreover, the issue involves how we can apply the Bible consistently. Most of those who oppose women's ordination do not follow biblical instructions to greet one another with holy kisses or wear head coverings in church. Most recognize that these were cultural expressions of principles (such as friendly greetings) that may be applied differently in different cultures. Certainly most churches do not take up offerings for the Jerusalem church every Sunday (1 Corinthains 16:1-3) and most Bible readers do not feel compelled to go to Troas, get Paul's cloak and try to take it to him (2 Timothy 4:13). When they neglect these instructions, they do not see themselves as disobeying the Bible. They simply recognize that we need to take into account the situations the biblical writers addressed, before extracting larger principles. That is not only how we read the Bible but how we learn from any wisdom originally written in the past. Nearly all communication uses a language and some cultural setting!
For the original, enjoy it here.

--Nick

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