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Message Subject Are women allowed to preach and teach in the church? Or are we to be silent?
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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ARGUMENT FROM GALATIANS 3:28

Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

a. Summary of the argument

Since there is no distinction between male and female in Christ, neither should there be any distinction in the pulpit (or any other ministry for that matter). To prohibit women from preaching is to elevate men over women, thereby violating their equality in Christ.

b. Representative quote

"In Galatians 3:26-28 Paul reminds us that we have all been baptized into Christ and there is no longer 'Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female'; for we are 'all one in Christ Jesus.' Paul is speaking of three different dominant-submissive categories, all of which have been nullified by our being baptized into and clothed with Christ.

"The baptized Greek, clothed with the all-sufficiency of Christ, is as much a son of God as is the previously preferred Jew. Similarly, the emancipated slave of early America, once clothed with Christ, met all qualifications for any church office--contrary to the convictions of many church teachers of that era. Any dissection of this passage that offers less to women than other categories would suggest a prejudiced exegesis. The passage goes on to affirm the purpose of Christ's coming: 'to redeem those under the law [Greek, slave, female] that we [all] might receive the full rights of sons' (v. 5)" (Austin H. Stouffer, "The Ordination of Women:YES", Christianity Today, February 20, 1981, p. 13).

c. Responses

1) In Galatians 3:28 Paul illustrates unity in Christ by contrasting it with three prominent points of diversity of his day (i.e., Jew & Greek = nationality/religion; slave & free = social status; male & female = gender).

2) Paul's point is the spiritual equality of believers, not their functional equality.

(The right to preach and teach is a matter of function, not spiritual equality or inequality.)

a) The context of this verse is salvation, not spiritual gifts or spiritual ministries.

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor fee man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. and if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (vv. 26-29).

b) All who are in Christ came to Him through faith and are spiritual equals. However, not everyone functions the same within the Body of Christ because the Holy Spirit distributes gifts and responsibilities according to His sovereign will (cf. 1 Cor. 12:11). Everyone's role is important, but everyone's role isn't the same. That's the principle Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 12.

c) That point is commonly misunderstood. For example, in the representative quote above, Mr. Stouffer rightly says that Christ came to redeem those who are under the law that all who believe might receive the full rights of sonship (Gal. 4:5). But then he confuses freedom from the Law and equal rights as sons (which is the point of the passage) with equal roles in society and the church (which is not the point of the passage).

Mr. Stouffer's comments (that "the baptized Greek, clothed with the all-sufficiency of Christ, is as much a son of God as is the previously preferred Jew. Similarly, the emancipated slave of early America, once clothed with Christ, met all qualifications for any church office--contrary to the convictions of many church teachers of that era. Any dissection of this passage that offers less to women than other categories would suggest a prejudiced exegesis") would be correct and more consistent with Paul's point if they read "The baptized Greek, clothed with the all-sufficiency of Christ, is as much a son of God as is the previously preferred Jew. Similarly, the emancipated slave of early America, once clothed with Christ, is as much a son of God as is his Christian master. An dissection of this passage that offers less to women than other categories would suggest a prejudiced exegesis."

3) A brief discussion of biblical authority and submission is appropriate at this point because God applies it even to spiritual equals.

a)Authority and submission doesn't imply personal superiority or inferiority. It's a functional distinction intended to maintain harmony and order within human institutions such as society and the family. The church is no exception:

Hebrews 13:17 - "Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."

1 Peter 5:1-2 - "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, s your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God."

b) Jesus Himself submitted to the Father without diminishing His nature, character, or personal value in any way (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3; Phil. 2:5-11). Therefore, God does not violate spiritual equality or diminish His high calling for woman when He places her under ma's authority in the church. On the contrary, He shelters her by providing an environment in which she can achieve her highest spiritual potential without undue vulnerability.

Key Principles:

Galatians 3:28 speaks of spiritual equality, not functional quality.
The right to preach and teach is a functional distinction within the Body of Christ.
Authority and submission doesn't imply personal superiority or inferiority.
Christ Himself demonstrated the importance of authority and submission.


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