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July 28, 2006

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jdowton

I must say, Shane, I do enjoy your posts.
I find that the qoutes from Brawner are extremely powerful and refreshing every time I hear or read them. She was quite extraordinary!
I find it funny that we as Pentecostals should even feel the need to discuss these matters (although I am aware that it certainly is needed) for we, if no one else, have held fast to the notion of the equipping of the Spirit for service for every believer, no matter who they are.
I have had many discussions with adherents to the 'male headship' position, and find it interesting that the argument often cited back to me is that one has to impose exegetical gymnastics on the text to come to an egalitarian position, because the 'truth' of headship is clearly the plain reading of the text.
What happens to verses such as: 'There is now no longer Jew or Gentile, MALE or FEMALE..."? (I take this text as pointing to the position of men and women before God rather than that men and women are exactly the same, for obviously we are not. But I don't think the differences preclude women from leadership purely because they are women)
What about verses such as those in Acts outlining the very events of Pentecost that so clearly point to the Spirit's being poured on all believers?
Surely this is a 'plain' reading of the text.
Surely we, as Pentecostals, should be able to deduce from the Scriptures that wherever we find the Presence of the Spirit we find freedom from the curse.
Surely we can see that women's subjection to man in the event of the fall is also part of the curse, and therefore with the Presence of the Spirit there is liberty for women to 'be all they can be' in God's service.
Surely, if nothing else, we can see from our own experience (the centre-piece of Pentecostal identity) that there are many, many women who are well equipped to do the things that we often bar them from doing.
Surely if we can't see these things, then we are in a whole lot of trouble and are missing something beautiful that we claim for ourselves in being Pentecostal.

Shane Clifton

Yes, yes, and yes - need i say more!

Joshua Ballard

Are we still subject then to the curse of death?

I understand that the resurrection defeats death, but this is something that happens AFTER the curse in Adam has had it's way.

After all, there are still certain effects of the curse that we are bound under even with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The earth does not produce it's fullness, we still must eat our bread "by the sweat of our brow" and various other effects of the fall.

Another perspective is that the role or responsibility of Headship is actually a curse! ... That the only reason we have headship is an effect of the curse which continues until the full manifestation of redemption upon the return of Christ.

All of the curses that God pronounced at the fall, He tells us are FOR our sake. Could the curse of Male Headship also be one of these that is not lifted until death?

To simply say that the curse is lifted wherever the spirit is, seems to be tunnel-vision, ignoring the fact that people still die. People still get sick. People still have to work hard for their food. The ground still produces thorns and thistles.

How then shall we view the redemption from the curse? Is it a partial fulfillment in the now, in anticipation of completion in the not-yet?

Or is it simply that where the spirit is, there is no Curse.

I am still hoping for a reconciliation of these issues in my journey towards a confident theology in relation to women.

Shane Clifton

True - we are still under curse (not for our sake - but because of sin). True also that our freedom from curse is eschatological - not completely realised until the future. And yet Christianity is an eschatological religion, and the spirit is our deposit, firstruit, foretaste of the future. It is for this reason we can say that the Spirit liberates from curse - and is liberating women. Yet the fact that this liberation is not yet complete is self-evident in the fact that women are not yet fully liberated. If we are spirit empowered people - we should therefore work toward this liberation (even in the face of continued patriarchy).

Hope this makes sense.

Dan Swan

I realise that this post was some time ago, but just in case people still read it, I have a few questions and comments.
Firstly, Shane, in a previous post in regards to your Christian feminist views you said:
"More than just believing in equality, I would consider myself a feminist because I actively seek to encourage the liberation and elevation of women to positions of authority and leadership in homes, in churches and in society."

Are you able to clarify what the nature of a Christian woman's authority in the home is? Are you refering to the authority of a wife over the household and over her husband or something else?

And Joshua, you have left out many texts that present a strong case against your 'plain reading of the text' in Galatians.

And 'Woman' (ish-shaw') later named Eve, was already in 'subjection' before the fall (cf Gen 2, 1 Cor 11 and Eph 5). Though the use of the term subjection does not fit with well with Scripture. It denotes being forced into submission against one's will. Jesus Christ submitted to the God the Father and obeyed His will, yet to call this subjection would be inappropriate. He submitted to his Father because he loved his Father (cf John 14:31).

jdowton

It is true that I left out many texts, purely because I wasn't seeking to offer a definitive argument with exegetical backing to prove the point.
I don't think that it is hard to do, though it would certainly make for some lengthy posts on this blog, which is probably not the place.
I'm interested, though, in asking how you understand the woman to be in 'subjection' to the man before the fall. It is my understanding that the woman is created to partner the man purely because there is no other creature equal to the man and up to the task so God creates an equal 'mate' for him.
Also, I would ask you to read the Ephesians 5 passage in the context of Ephesians 5:18-21. I think these verses clear up some of the confusion.
I must ask this question; what possible reason would a man want a woman in 'submission' to him for? I just don't understand the concept!
I hear a lot of pro-male-headship advocates claiming that there inevitably comes a point in a marriage when the man must take responsibility and make the decision in some cases, but I've never experienced that.
I have only been married for 5 years at the time of this post, but in that time it has never come to the point that we are unable to make a decision and I have to 'be the man' and make the call.
I believe marriage is a partnership and decisions should be made by two equals in submission to each other, seeking each others best interests. Isn't that what Christian marriage is about?
I think I'll defer to that great Australian prophet, Keith Urban, when he says, "They say behind every man is a good woman
But I think that's a lie
'Cause when it comes to you I'd rather have you by my side".
Isn't that sweet...
Seriously though, I really think it's true. And I firmly agree with Shane when he says that he encourages the 'liberation and elevation of women to positions of authority and leadership in homes, in churches and in society.'
Preach it Shane!!!

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